Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bad Manners

I know we all have bad days, and yes I too have been guilty of taking my bad mood out on a shopkeeper or another driver. But I also do it rarely, and try hard not to do it. Mainly because it makes me feel worse about myself. And because I know how that feels, I hate doing it to someone else. This aside, today, bad manners are far more prevalent than basic common courtesy, politeness, civility and treating others as you'd like to be treated. I'd be the first to tell you not to bottle things up and to express your feelings, with all the trouble this has caused (and still does) me over the years. But this does not mean you express them all over the place like an exploding toilet! What happened to self control? Or discretion? Or thinking of repercussions? The age of instant gratification is well and truly here. And it seems to include instantly releasing your garbage so you feel better and be damned what it does to others. The other day I had a lady say to me not to take to heart the bad treatment of her daughter and son-in-law (who is my brother). She cavalierly said that it means nothing - it's just them unloading shit and we all do it. I said I disagreed. Yes, we all are guilty at times of doing or saying things we (should) regret later on. But on a continuing basis it was just plain bad behaviour. I told her yes, we all have bad times, but it's not fair or right to continually take it out on others. That is simply bad manners and bad behaviour. Whatever happened to communication? Having conversations? Discussing things? Instead of dumping things. I do not like the way society is going in this regard. I have had atrocious times in my life, yet I could still manage to be nice to others, considerate and polite. This actually made me feel better about myself and my situation for a little while, instead of just perpetuating the ugliness. Come on people - do not spread your shit everywhere. Contain it and deal with it. Other people have feelings and a right to walk safely and happily in this world and not nervously and tentatively, afraid of others moods, each and every day. Grow up and act reasonably!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


You see it happen so many times. People going from one long term relationship that has failed, straight into another relationship. Not even finishing the first relationship fully, before embarking on another. I am not a prude. I understand not all relationships or marriages work out. But why do people jump straight into another one? What is wrong with taking some time, even a few months, to be on your own? Gather your thoughts, finish that relationship physically AND emotionally. Process things. Let things sit. Gather your breath. Sort yourself out. Calm down and settle down. ESPECIALLY when children are involved. If you are confused and having trouble adapting, image the turmoil, confusion, damage and hurt the kids experience. Carrying YOUR emotional baggage into the future. Shaping and molding them. Changing them forever. Perpetuating bad relationships and cycles and dysfunction, when there is no need for it. People are afraid to be on their own. Afraid to try and cope. Afraid of what they might feel or what they will discover about themselves. Thinking they need a partner to be complete. That this is the only real goal in life. Others just like that perpetual feeling of "being in love". I understand parents need lives too. Of course. But when you decide to have children and bring them into the world, your job is to consider them first and to minimize any hurt as much as you can. You can't shield them from everything. But making stupid decisions for instant gratification is very WRONG. If you don't take even a little bit of time to catch your breath and be on your own, even just to sort your domestic situation out, you are really doomed to repeat the mistakes and choose similar people to the failed relationships. Come on adults, especially parents - do the right thing by your children AND yourselves. Sort your lives out and stop the dysfunction that creates enormous pain. It's not fair on the children. They didn't ask for it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Self Reflection

A little bit of regular self reflection is a good thing. It doesn't have to mean going into counselling as that isn't everyone's cup of tea. But getting to know yourself and being honest with yourself (if no-one else) is a good thing. You can notice your good and bad habits, your good and bad qualities, notice things you'd like to change and things you'd like to build up. You will notice your role in relationships, patterns of behaviour, things that you do to sabotage yourself, things that build you up inside and you want to do more of. This all helps you achieve a healthier sense of self, greater self confidence and balance in your life, so you don't get knocked down so often. So you achieve your goals and follow your dreams while still meeting daily obligations. It also stops you blaming others all the time for things and not taking any responsibility. It can be a way to intervene early in problems and keep your life and relationships on track. And a way to treat the people around you with more respect instead of lashing out all the time. Just something to ponder ....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

I wonder if the current economic crisis is a blessing in disguise. It was always going to happen after the years and years of increasing consumerism, materialistic attitudes and impatience. While the straw that broke the camels back may have been the 'big wigs', we as a society and individuals are not blameless. Falling for the ruse that more things will make us happy. Buying all the gadgets, clothes, cars and must-haves NOW and never pausing to think. Buy now pay later. Instead of choose now, save and buy later. The Australian dream of a home turned into the biggest and best you could eke out of lending institutions. Not starting modestly and working your way up. Renovating as you could afford, DIY, just being happy with a roof over your head and a loving family underneath. There is no appreciation of what we have. No joy in working to save for an item and being grateful. Have all these items, increased and crippling debt, children in every activity under the sun until they have schedules that rival executives, made our society happier? Or healthier? Or peaceful? Or crime-free? Has it eradicated abuse, violence, illness and suffering? No. We have more and more people suffering stress. Anxiety. And Depression is the leading cause of disability in Australia. These surely are signs of a society ready to break. Of unhappiness. Of strain. Of continual seeking when what you need is right there within and surrounding you. We see evidence of this all around us with irritable people, rude people, children who have limited attention spans and appreciate nothing. Maybe the economic crisis that is the consequence of all this, was meant to be. There is more and more talk of simpler lives now. Of growing vegies, of recycling, of reducing energy costs, of wanting more from life than material possessions. This has emerged out of necessity, yes. But the flow on to spending more time as families doing these things as they are time intensive, comparitively, has to be a positive thing for relationships, which these days, so many of us find so difficult and so finicky. So much talk of being mindful and in the moment. Not hippy talk. Not the answer. Because in years gone by they did this naturally. Yes, the state of the economy and the strain on many due to this is not nice. But I wonder if this is the start of a much needed bigger change that can only benefit society, people, the environment and the world's happiness. Just a thought.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Positive Focus of Energy

This last month of February has seen me join my cousin and a few others on Facebook, in a challenge to take a photo every day during the month, of something you are grateful for and post it on your profile. I was fairly grudging in mood at first, because I'd been in a bad place for a long time. But it was great to have one of my first thoughts each day being to grab my camera. And to always have in the back of my mind during the day, about something positive in my life. To shift my focus from how I was feeling inside, to a different perspective. I've heard of people doing journals like this of things they love or are grateful for each day. Even attempting them for only a few days. But if you stick with it, forcing yourself at first and even when you don't feel grateful, it's amazing how that subtle shift of focus can alter your outlook on life and overall mood after a month. I must admit I've been doing other things too, working hard on myself, to lift myself out of this funk. But I believe that this little exercise has been a big part in the change in me. Creative pursuits always work well for me. Why oh why do I let myself get so far down that I can't even find a spark of energy or motivation to be creative! Do I dare say never again. No - I'm too human for that *laughs*.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Giving to the Bushfire Effort

It is tragic just how fast, furious and ferocious the Bushfires down south were. And almost unbelievable the number of casualties. My cousin was having trouble getting her head around how many deaths there were, so one morning she went out and sat on her deck, and counted out 1 pebble for each death from her nearby garden, making them into the shape of a heart as she went. This really brought home how many precious souls were gone and just how much grief and devastation would be left in the wake of this tragedy. It is great how Australia has rallied with raising money for those affected. Even in the little town where I live, with a population of around 3,000 people, already over $10,000 has been raised with a Cattle Sale and other functions still to be held. This does not take into account personal donations, the truck loads of animal fodder being taken down voluntarily and people who have gone down to volunteer their time. It's truly amazing the capacity Australians have to give. Living in a small town, I am continually amazed at how much others give and how much money can be raised in a crisis. I should not be amazed, having lived here so long, but I always am. We can have a family afflicted by a tragedy and within a few weeks a fundraiser is arranged, held and up to $30,000 raised. That is truly amazing for such a small population. But I digress. Even with all the tragedy and the giving, there are those who struggle to live day to day and don't have much spare to give. Unfortunately at times these people can be made to feel selfish, or guilty or ashamed because they aren't giving as much as others. This isn't very nice, because if you look at the overall picture and everyone gives what they can afford, even buying a $1 raffle ticket or a cake at a cake stall, the monetary value adds up just the same. After all, what does that old saying say? It's the thought that counts. Well that is true. It's the heartfelt gesture behind the monetary value, giving what you can afford or even giving what you can't afford that week. It's a personal thing and should never be judged. Whatever anyone gives, whether it be money, time, services or second hand items from their home, it is needed by someone out there who has nothing. Someone who will appreciate the gesture, the love, the compassion and the thought behind each and every donation. So I hope nobody is beating themselves up because they (can't) give enough. Or that others aren't making you feel inferior because they may be financially better off than you and giving more. Embrace your loving giving spirit and know that that is more than enough.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cowardly use of Technology

I am the first to be a fan of technology. I like gadgets. I carry a mobile phone, especially when I travel. I use Facebook to stay in touch with relatives who live far away and old friends I'd lost touch with. I've used Instant Messaging in the past and am prone to sending off a quick SMS. Email - where would I be without email? But I think like in the rest of your life, these things should be used the same way you would treat people in person. I have found that it's easier for people to be mean to others and say things they wouldn't in person, via text message, email or post it all over Facebook. To say things in the heat of the moment, that they may consider more carefully in person, or if they had to get in the car and drive to the person's house before saying it. It's cowardly. It's mean. It's rude. The behaviour in many ways is worse than if done in person, as it leaves people without a comeback. Without being able to address the issue. Without being able to have a discussion and put their side across. And many times I find that if you were to address them in person about something they've said in some techno form, it makes it worse. They'll deny they meant that, or they phrased it badly or you're blowing it out of proportion. I am the last person to like confrontation. It literally brings me to my knees, I shake that badly. But I'd rather have a chance to have my say or defend myself, than be left hanging, hurt and wounded at the other end of a computer. I know I've been guilty at times of telling people things via email that I'd find difficult to do in person. But not necessarily mean things. Things that I'd find hard to find a moment to get them to listen. Or to hear me. Or for me to be articulate enough in person. But I won't do it in the heat of the moment. I take a long time to consider what I say before sending it. Give them time to read it and then meet up to talk about it. But they're not mean things - usually just issues deep and painful for me. People that use technology to harrass, insinuate, hurt, accuse, or make trouble, are bad mannered, rude and cowardly, hiding behind a device, with little thought for the people concerned. Literally people become objects, become without humanity, become impersonal and partly 'unreal', when technology is involved. And people aren't any of these things. Think everyone, before you reach for your favourite gadget and send out that hurtful barb to friend, family or foe.