Tag Archives: opinions

Love thy neighbour

loveThe most disturbing event that has seemingly happened in the wake of last week’s referendum result is not the state of the stock market (which after an initial panic has now recovered and more), nor is it the pound’s exchange rate (which might be low, but it’s been worse), no it seems that the ugly face of racism and intolerance has resurfaced.

It’s not just the obvious type of racism either. There has been vitriol thrown by friends to other friends simply because of where they were born, or who they worship. There has been vile abuse thrown in the direction of people, simply because they voted a different way to their friends.  There has also been a whole torrent of abuse hurled at the older generation of this country for doing nothing more than exercising the same democratic right as everyone else!

And frankly, that makes me ashamed to be human!

As human beings we are all individuals. Everyone is a unique person with their own way of life, goals, dreams and ambitions.

No one, whatever (or however) they feel, has the right to pass judgment on another human being because of the colour of their skin, their nationality or because they have differing opinions to you. Those are precisely the qualities that make us unique individuals.

I was in church on the Sunday before the referendum (just after the murder of Jo Cox and the shootings in Orlando) and the sermon was related to one of the readings that day from Galatians:

But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ.”

The preacher went on to quote Zoughbi Zoughbi, the founder and director of the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, who said simply that:

“God is not racist”

[Note, God can also refer to any other holy, religious ethereal being]

So if God can see past colour, creed, nationality, etc., why can’t we?

In the Bible there are at least 30 quotes about loving thy neighbour. It is also, I believe, a theme that runs through Islam, as well as many other religions.

The world is crazy enough at the moment without adding fuel to the fire, so why can’t everyone love their neighbours. After all, as it says in Leviticus “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

So, as Martin Luther King put it – stick with love.

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Are Self-Esteem and Ego the Same Thing?

“Ego” is a Latin and Greek word meaning I, and used to describe the self.

“Self-Esteem” is a term used to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of their own worth.

But could they, in fact, be one and the same.

After all if I describe myself (hypothetically) as totally amazing, surely that is me describing myself and how I feel about myself at the same time. And, therefore I could deduce that both my self-esteem and ego were quite large! (Or you could think that I just held far too high an opinion of myself 😉 )

I always assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that they were one and the same thing. That someone with a big ego, and yes full of their own importance, was very confident in themselves and therefore obviously had a high sense of self-worth.

However, I have been reading some articles and books lately that have made me re-think my stance.

As a general rule, it would actually appear that self-esteem and ego are inversely proportional to each other, meaning that someone with a low self-esteem actually has quite a big ego, and vice-versa.

A person with a big ego needs constant reassurance and bolstering up, apparently, whereas a person with high self-esteem is confident enough to not have a ask for compliments!

And that got me thinking about the ghosts of boyfriends past!

Boomerang Boy – big ego and low self-esteem. He always needed to prove his worth, not to me, but to his peers, and was never confident in himself to say no. He always ended up being taken for a fool, which he was not, by making himself the centre of attention with his antics whilst being goaded on by his so-called friends.

Mr Wrong No. 1 – mmm, tricky. I thought he had high self-esteem, but upon further reflection it would appear he was another with low self-esteem and a big ego. He appeared very confident, and indeed is very knowledgeable about a lot of things (I will be forever grateful for everything I learned from him), but was very quick to belittle other people (or maybe it was just me?)

Mr Wrong No. 2 – no question, big ego. The kind of man who would tell you black was white and argue the case even if the truth was staring him in the face. He was of the opinion that his opinion and no one else’s mattered, and took delight in belittling everyone else – especially me!

So, it seems I have a pattern emerging. They have all been the same ‘type’ of man. And I, like a fool, have fallen for the initial façade rather than the person underneath, and when the devil emerged I tried to ignore it, in the hope that it would go away, but all that happened was my life was sucked out of me.

I spent the best part of 20 years wishing things would turn out better with Boomerang Boy. He was my first love. I love him today, but not in that way, he’s more like the brother I never had. I would do anything for him, but as for being in a relationship with him, not a chance.

For my part, I know I have low self-esteem. I am my own worst enemy. I am far too hard on myself and blame myself constantly for anything that goes wrong. That is a fault and, let’s  just say it’s a work in progress 😉

I would like to think though that I do not have a huge ego.

Some people might assume that I have, but most of the time it’s just me trying, really badly, to fit into the company I am with at the time – when to be honest I would rather be at home with a good book, or curled up under a blanket watching a good film.

I do not like being the centre of attention.

Yes, I act, and yes that obviously involves going on stage with shed-loads of people looking at you.

But I don’t do it for the glory, I don’t do for the ego-trip. I do it because it is the one thing I am passionate about, I love it. It enables me to become so much more than I am, I can crawl beneath the skin of a character and, for a while, enjoy being whatever part I am. It’s the one job I would love to be paid for. It’s my life.

I do have my own opinions, which I don’t think is a bad thing. It means that I am confident in my thoughts. However, I do appreciate and respect other people’s opinions and know that sometimes, unintentionally, my opinions, or off-the-cuff remarks may offend others. This is another fault which I am working on repairing.

 

So, it would appear that self-esteem and ego are not the same things.

What do you think?

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Top 5 Tips for New Parents

Royalist or not, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (along with millions of other parents around the world), welcome their new bundle of joy into the world (and yes, I have a bet on the name!) I thought I would rake my brains to come up with a top 5 tip list.

When I had SC (just over 6 years now) there was all the build-up for 9 months and then there he was this tiny little human being that I was in charge of looking after and nurturing. It was very emotional – before they arrive you have absolutely no idea how much a child completely and utterly takes over your life. I was very much, before I had him, “Oh, I’ll be back working within a fortnight.” In reality the moment I held him against my chest a few seconds after he had been born I never wanted to leave him for one second, he was, and is so precious. I never wanted to miss a minute of him.

Children are a precious gift and from the moment they are born, we, as parents have a responsibility to raise them to becomes good, kind, thoughtful and responsible adults.

Parenthood doesn’t come from instruction manuals – no matter how many you read (and I read quite a few) – it’s a massive learning curve, especially with your first-born and we all make mistakes (I’ve made plenty) but if we do our best everything will turn out all right.

So here are my personal top 5 tips for new parents:

5.  They don’t break!

I remember when I first held SC how incredibly clumsy I felt. I was holding this tiny wriggling baby and it just felt as if every time I went to pick him up my hands had suddenly morphed into clown hands – you know where the hands are five times the size, just like those false ‘pointy finger’ hands people wear at Baseball games – and that if I picked him up wrongly he would somehow break like a china doll. It did take my midwife and my mum to reassure me that this wasn’t the case, and it really was just a case of practice makes perfect. Like changing a nappy and lifting up the legs to pop the clean one underneath the baby’s bottom – you are not going to do any harm lifting the feet up together in one hand…Oh yes, you do learn how to do many things one-handed – chopping vegetables is a positive art form one-handed!!

4.  Work Together

I was not fortunate enough to have a ‘hands on dad’, someone who would do his share of getting up early in the morning, or even just taking the baby out for a walk whilst I did a normal thing like take a shower! If you are that fortunate, you need to work together to find a routine that works for everyone – so that dad gets his fair share of changing nappies, and the early morning shift, but that he also gets to help out with the fun stuff like bath time and bed time routines. The early days are very testing for any new parents, mothers get very emotional around day 4/5 after the birth – the baby blue period – and the lack of sleep in the early days doesn’t help with tempers which is why being supportive and there for each other is vitally important in my opinion.

3.  Talk to your Baby

This might sound completely crazy, after all it’s a new-born baby, but read to your baby, talk to it, sing to it, make silly noises – it all helps with the bonding process. I started reading stories to SC the day he was born – I know he didn’t understand the stories (it was one of my favourite childhood books “The Tales of Blackberry Farm”) – but its the sound of your voice and the closeness that reading together creates. Even now, at the grand old age of 6 he will climb onto my lap with a book (we have progressed to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) and snuggle into my arms whilst I read, and he still has a story before he goes to bed. The other thing I used to do was have him facing me in his buggy, and talk to him whilst going round the shops about what I needed to buy – I swear everyone in the supermarket thought I was completely nuts, but all interaction is good interaction! And I used to sing to him, anytime! I would pop him lying on his back on my legs and sing nursery rhymes to him and then I would pop on my musical CDs and belt out showtunes…no wonder he has a penchant for them now (and ABBA and rock music!)

2.  Cuddles

Everyone loves cuddles and there’s no need to wait for an excuse to cuddle your baby! Cuddles are fab! Cuddles are part of the bonding process. I think I spent the first 2 years cuddling SC. Literally! If we weren’t playing, he would be in my arms whilst I was doing chores. He fell asleep being cuddled. And now, we have a morning cuddle routine where I sit on the floor and he rushes from one end of the room to me and jumps onto my lap and we give each other the biggest cuddles ever, and a night-time cuddle routine, and then after-school cuddles and plain old ‘jus cos’ cuddles. Children will grow out of cuddling parents all to soon so you need to get a lifetimes worth into a short space!

1.  Trust Your Instincts

My top tip is to trust your instincts. You know your baby better than anyone. Everyone will be all too happy to give their own opinion and advice. You will read far too many text books. But trust me, no two babies are the same. Use advice, opinions and parenting books as a guideline only. Trust yourself. New parents feel under so much pressure to get things right, they feel a failure if their baby doesn’t sleep through the night within 8 weeks (it can take longer believe me! My empathy kicks in at a year, sympathy at 3, mine didn’t sleep through the night til he was 4!) You are made to feel a failure if you don’t breastfeed, if you don’t employ the ‘crying technique’, if you wean too soon, or too late, or you don’t take them to every single toddler group under the sun! Every child is different and you are the best judge of what is right for your child. Trust your instincts, they won’t fail you!

 

I lay no claim to be an expert. I am not a perfect mum. I make mistakes – I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. But I do the best job I can. I love SC more than anything and can’t imagine life without him now.

It is a hard job, the hardest job you will ever do voluntarily! You will get stressed, anxious, cross, vexated, tired, emotionally spent, I could go one, but ultimately it is the one thing that will give you the most joy and happiness in the world!

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The A-Z of Life – Opinions

“My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever!”colin-firth111

“That is indeed a failing.”

Possibly one of the more memorable quotes from classic literature from Pride & Prejudice and, of course it means I get an excuse to put a picture of Colin Firth as the gorgeous Mr Darcy on the blog.

But seriously, is it indeed a failing, if your good opinion about something, or someone, is lost and you find it hard to change your mind back again, for want of a better expression?

Let’s take, brussel sprouts, for example. To be honest I actually love them – could quite happily eat a plate with nothing else – in fact I did just that one Christmas…

But obviously for many they are, quite clearly, the food of the devil, vile, little green balls that are like bullets and taste disgusting.

How many people who do not like brussel sprouts, would try them and be honest enough to say, if they did, that they were not too bad – I know that’s going off into the realms of total fantasy, but for the purpose of this exercise is it a failing that they have a bad opinion about brussel sprouts, or is it a failing they may not try them, or is it not actually a failing at all, but merely a case of personal taste being different?

After all we are all different. We cannot all like the same things or indeed have the same opinions about topics like football, politics, who the most beautiful man/woman is in the world, etc.

But that’s things, and in my ‘opinion’ a totally different kettle of fish to people.

If someone betrays your confidence by blabbing your secrets, or the person who said they never wanted to hurt you did just that, or a person pretends to be all sweetness and light to you when all the time they are whispering behind your back is it a failing to not trust that person again?

I don’t trust people easily any more.

And I’m sad that I feel I can’t trust easily any more.

Does that mean I’m a bad person for being cautious about who I confide in after my confidences have been spread around for no more than malicious enjoyment?

Does that mean I’m a bad person for never wanting to trust a man again after all the times I’ve been lied to, let down, used and left heartbroken?

Is it indeed a failing in my psychological make-up that once someone has betrayed me, lost my trust or hurt my feelings that I find it hard to forget?

I can forgive, because that brings my own peace of mind – they know why they did what they did, I can’t change that (no matter how much sometimes I wish I could) – but by forgiving them for hurting me and ensuring another brick gets put up around me I can at least find peace within myself.

I wouldn’t say it was a failing though, because at the end of the day by being cautious about who I trust in the future I am protecting myself – it’s not a foolproof method, but at least I hope it will not make the sting too painful.

And when it comes to football, politics and other such contentious issues I can only quote another famous line from literature “I suggest you stick to two subjects – the weather and everyone’s health!”

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What is Intelligence?

Generally we think of someone as intelligent if they excel academically.

But is how many A’Levels you get at A* really indicative of your intelligence?

Sure, you can regurgitate facts and figures, but is that all there is to being intelligent?

I don’t think it is.

Some entrepreneurs that have succeeded left school with basic qualifications, but surely their ability to identify and, for want of a better word, exploit the market to their advantage also warrants them worthy of the title “intelligent”? They may not have a first class honours degree, but they can think outside the box and come up with solutions to problems no one else thought of.

I firmly believe that we are all intelligent. But that so-called intelligence manifests itself in different guises.

Like the entrepreneur that can think outside the box by thinking laterally.

Some of us are more spiritually aware, some of us more emotionally aware, some are better at expressing themselves vocally, for example.

We should all be open to learning from each other, as we all have our own unique intelligence.

Facts and figures have their place, but at the end of the day who would you rather have a conversation with: the person who talks at you rather than to you, quoting this and that and believes they are always right, or the person who may not be able to quote facts verbatim, but has an opinion, and more importantly is open to listening to your opinion (and vice versa)?

For me personally, I would rather be able to know that I could talk to someone and hold a meaningful conversation with them without fear that my opinion will be dismissed as total garbage and nonsense!

I’ll take emotional and spiritual intelligence any day thank you 😉

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