Tag Archives: psychology

What are the best ‘self-help’ books you have read?

I know, I know. People who read so-called ‘self-help’ books are the people who want to do something, but never get round to actually doing it.

But I did 😉

However, I don’t there is just 1 ‘self-help’ guide out there to fix all the problems – after much research, reading and soul searching the answer lies with us.  But as a complete book geekette I find that books help put things into perspective, if I’m feeling something but don’t know why, if I can find an answer in a book I can generally then try identify what I’ve read with my own feelings and work things out (if that makes any sense whatsoever?)

And like I said, there’s more than 1 book out there, and over the last couple of years, I’ve read loads.  There are some that have struck more chords than others, and some that I picked up and immediately put back down again!

These are probably my Top 3:

3.  The Chimp Paradox by Dr Mike Peters

I wrote a blog about this book way back in 2013 (“Me & My Chimp” – just re-published it) and since writing the post ‘Charlie’ and I have in general sorted out our differences.  Sometimes he raises his naughty little head and starts whispering negative thoughts into my brain, but these day I just try to ignore him.

The book, without going into too much detail – after all it’s all in the previous post – details how those annoying little self-doubt voices you hear in your head are just akin to a chimp lodging in your brain. And if you take notice of them, you feed them and they become bigger and stronger until they pretty much rule your life.

So, as the signs at the zoo keep reminding us “Do Not Feed the Chimps!”

2.  The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success by Dr Kevin Dutton & Andy McNab

… or “How to use your inner psychopath to get the most out of life.”  And no, that doesn’t mean you have to turn into Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates!

Effectively, the gist of the book is that everyone has psychopathic qualities, such as fearlessness, empathy, and decisiveness, etc., and if we think of them as dials on a radio they get turned up and down as we need them to get the best out of any situation. (Note, a bad psychopath has the dials turned up to maximum permanently!)  They explain that top lawyers and surgeons have these ‘good’ psychopathic tendencies to do the job they need to do with the least emotion possible – and having experienced the legal system, I’d have been a terrible lawyer, I am way too emotional!

But what the man in the street needs to do is tune in to these dials and alter the frequency as and when they need to help them out.  There is a sequel which actually takes all the qualities and shows you how to put them to use in every day situations – “Sorted – The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Bossing Your Life”

And my Number 1 is a book I randomly picked off the shelf in the library (really must buy my own copy) called “Flip It” by Michael Heppell.

It’s basic premise is to pretty much take every situation and just flip it from the negative to the positive to energise your actions and ensure you get the best out of any situation.

It’s full of tips and exercises and is truly eye-opening.

So my new mantra for anything I encounter these days that gives me a headache is to either flip it or f**k it (which incidentally is the name of another self-help book 😉 )

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Me & My Chimp!

I have always loved chimps and when I was university had loads of pictures, posters, etc., dotted around my room, alongside the cuddly chimps that sat on my bed. But I digress.chimpanzee

I am reading an amazing book at the moment called “The Chimp Paradox” by Dr Steve Peters.

The book is all about mind management and learning to do the things that the little voices in your head tell you that you can’t do.

And it would appear that the main culprit behind all the little voices is the chimp in your brain 😉

Dr Peters puts it simply that there are 3 areas in your brain:

  1. You – the human – who uses logic and fact to function
  2. Chimp – who is 5x stronger than you and functions with its emotions
  3. Computer – who is 20x faster than you, and is the storage bed for all experiences past, both good and bad which have been put their by both human and chimp

My chimp is called Charlie 😉

And, boy has Charlie got me into trouble over the years, and from what I have read so far in the book it would appear Charlie has been running the show for far too long!

I have been living via my emotions and most of the time letting them get the better of me, instead of letting the human take control and logically assess the situation.

Not that I can throw all responsibility of this on to Charlie. Far from it. The book explains that the chimp in our brain is no different to owning a pet. If it gets out of control, ultimately, at the end of the day we are responsible for both it and its actions, and therefore must shoulder that responsibility.

So I am in the process of learning how to control and manage my chimp.

It’s quite a challenge I can tell you!

Reflecting on past experiences I can now see that I have let Charlie take over in pretty much every aspect of my life.

By living through my emotions I have succumbed to the little voices in my head telling me that I am no good, I am worthless and useless, I am stupid, everything is always my fault, etc., and ended up believing them, so that every time I try something new, because I have let the chimp rule, the computer has pulled out chimp reactions to similar situations and therefore the whole cycle starts again, so every time I end up beating myself up again and again and again.

The tough challenge for me that lies ahead is to rip out all the chimp information from the hard drive on the computer in my brain and re-wire it (oh gosh! Don’t I sound all techie 😉 ) to function on a more human level, i.e., more logic and fact.

And that’s just for starters.

Once the information has been identified and sent to the recycle bin for permanent deletion I have to import new instructions based on logic and human reactions, so they can then be downloaded when I come across different situations in life.

I’ve a feeling it could take a while – after all Charlie has been in charge for far too long and there may be a power struggle to regain human control!

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and now that I understand why it appears that the same things keep on happening, I now have a chance to break the cycle and begin again, which is a good thing. Isn’t it?

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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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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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Mind Games

Why is it inherent in our human nature to play games?

I’m not talking about recreational sport, but games with people.

Mr Wrong No. 1 and No. 2 both were expert mind game players – whether they did it intentionally or not.

I was always made to feel wrong, stupid and generally not good enough. And because they made me feel like this, I used to go along with whatever they wanted to do, go, etc. I never had any say. They also used to pick at what I wore and how I wore my hair. Making little digs and sly comments.

Now, it could always have been that I was too subservient in that, due to previous experiences I didn’t want to do anything to rock the so-called boat, and therefore just cow-towed and agreed with them.

I have been the one, throughout my life where I have watched other women treat men like dirt and yet they themselves are still treated like princesses. Whereas if I dared to disagree or stamp my little foot I have been shown the door – no, not shown ,literally thrown out the door – before the stamping foot reached the floor!

But wherever the fault lies I, myself don’t play mind games.

I am now in a place where I know who I am and am happy and content with that.

I don’t fit moulds – I break them. I cannot change myself to someone elses ideal. If they want me, they get me – warts and all, If they want me to change me – they will be disappointed.

But what is the point of games?

I don’t get this whole “rule” thing about dating.

If you like someone, be you male or female, what is so wrong in just being open and telling them?

Why do you have to go through the pointless, and dare I say, pathetic routine game playing?

Why shouldn’t a girl text a bloke and say “fancy a drink?”

Why should a bloke string 2 girls along til he can decide which one he prefers? (I must point out that this of course applies to women stringing 2 blokes along as well)

Why should we sit around looking at our phones wishing they would call or text? Why don’t we just think “screw it” and call/text them?

Why do we hit the panic button over the “L” word? Why has society built such a small word up to such an extent that it feels like when you say it, what you are actually saying is “I’m using this as a test to see whether you will say it back!” When in reality that little word actually just means you have touched another person’s heart and soul? Does it really matter a fig who says it first? Does it matter really if the other person doesn’t say it back? We all know our own hearts, we cannot dictate another’s, so maybe the other person doesn’t say it back, it doesn’t mean they don’t, though of course it might!

Dating should be fun – not akin to playing a tactical game of chess or Strategy.

I mean clearly, that’s why I’m a disaster zone.

Surely, it should just be a case of I like you, you like me. Let’s go out and have some fun.

Starting out as friends and if you feel “chemistry” (and I use the word very loosely) – surely that’s an even better place to start.

Getting to know someone surely should be a time of excitement and joy, not feeling stressed because you feel you must play the game and follow the ‘dating rules’?

Isn’t it time society ripped up the so-called rules and made a new set?

Of course, it’s all very well for me to talk, but if truth be told I would be the last person to do that.

I would love to be able to just say “hey, no pressure, let’s go out for a drink?”

But I fear my heart has been broken too many times.

 

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The Psychology of Me

Psychology is all about studying how we think, feel and act.

So I thought it might be quite amusing to try to work out the psychology of me!

 

I think too much. I feel too much. I act too little.

I think with my soul. I feel with my heart. I act with my conscience.

I think kind thoughts. I feel compassion. I act with empathy.

I think of love. I feel hurt. I act like I don’t care.

I think of life. I feel time passing too quickly. I act too slowly.

I think of work. I feel stressed. I act upon my instincts.

I think of the future. I feel afraid. I act to protect myself.

I think of fun. I feel happy. I act like a child.

I think of people who have hurt me. I feel abused. I act like a victim.

I think of family. I feel blessed. I act grateful.

I think of you. I feel alive. I can act as myself.

I think of happiness. I feel blessed. I act positive.

I think of life. I feel glad. I act happy.

 

But what I think, feel and act, sometimes are at complete odds with each other – because:

I’m the girl that smiles even when I’m broken.

I’m the girl that thinks of others, even when I have no one.

I’m the girl who trusts too much in the hope that one day someone will not let me down.

I’m the girl who acts as if she hasn’t a care in the world, when actually I’m worried to the pit of my stomach about everything.

I’m the girl who looks strong, but would easily break.

But I’m the girl who picks herself up every time she falls.

 

 

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Do You Deserve Everything You Get?

Someone said to me yesterday that I deserved everything I got!

This was said with malice, I hasten to add.

And that got me thinking, do I, or anyone else come to think of it, deserve what they get in life?

And thinking further is it actually what we deserve, or merely a physical manifestation of our innermost wants, which we ourselves are oblivious of until such time as ‘we get what we deserve’?

And without getting too philosophical or psychological is it perhaps the universe giving us what it knows we can handle?

I remember watching a film, think it was “The Wedding Date”, with Debra Messing (her off Will & Grace) and the father, played by the rather swoonsome Paul Egan, said to Debra Messing’s character that women get the love life they want.

So men, or women who get treated badly, is it because they want to be treated badly, or is it because they have such low self-esteem that they think they don’t deserve to be treated well?

And that got me thinking again? (And we all know how much I think, and boy has it given me a stinker of a headache!!)

So, I tried to take the philosophy that what we get is merely a physical manifestation of our innermost wants and apply it to some areas of my life.

And here’s what I came up with:

Love

Being a true romantic at heart, with a head full of fairy-tales, I believe in there being a Prince Charming out there somewhere.

In reality though I know Prince Charming doesn’t exist. So maybe, when I thought I’d got close to that fairytale, it was with someone I knew, deep down, could and would never be mine? So I got the fairytale in my imagination, but being reality it never really existed in the first place!

Life

I obviously didn’t set out to be a single-mother, but that is the situation I find myself in. Is this merely a physical manifestation of the fact that I thrive on a challenge and find ‘normality’ tedious? I suppose that could be true – after all I was constantly on the move in my career pre-SC – not that I have any lingering wishes towards Mr Wrong No. 2, far from it. Maybe the Universe dealt me this card because it knew I had the wherewithal to cope – although some days I seriously doubt its judgement!

Work

Nothing is ever handed to anyone, and you have to work for what you want. There are no quick wins to fame or fortune, so to speak, except through hard work. That’s what makes slogging your guts out worthwhile, when you can see the results of all that hard work. Sometimes it takes a lifetime. And again, maybe deep down the reason I keep going, is because I’m not a quitter and I just want to prove everyone wrong – just once – and show that I can do it!

It’s not a perfect explanation, but at least its got the thoughts out of my head, and relieved some of the headache!

I don’t believe we deserve what we get!

I believe we all have the power to overcome anything in life, if we choose too, rather than sitting down, doing nothing and letting life pass us by.

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