What Do You See?

Life is very much what you make it and that goes for the people you meet, the relationships you have and the job you do. And what one person my see as black another person my argue that it’s more a dark grey than black yet both will be right in their map of the world.

When you ask someone what they think of such and such you generally find that most people will have varying opinions which is hardly surprising as we are all unique human beings with different tastes, cultures and experiences and besides, wouldn’t life be dull if we liked the same things and people? Ask my children what their opinion of me is and you will get three very different views. Ask my friend or my ex sister-in-law what they think of me and you will get very different views!

Yet what we see in others is what we see in ourselves – so when you meet someone who you feel at ease with because they seem easy going – there will be a part of you that is like that too. See someone as bitchy – then guess what – there is a part of you that is a bitch too.

It is down to us to recognise that perhaps our views of others isn’t the truth more our interpretation of the truth. If you are determined to loathe someone you will – you will look for all the negative things in them that back up your view whilst if you seek to look at the positives – you will see someone completely different. What you seek you will find!

Relationships can be tricky at the best of times but when you have to ‘get on with’ or like a family member, your friends boyfriend or the new guy at work, then sometimes it can make like a little tedious. However if you are struggling with a relationship that does impact negatively on your life then there is a simple way for you to let go of your judgement and see the other person in a new light (and maybe give them the chance they need!)

It can seem impossible to like someone if you have taken a dislike to them or to forgive someone for hurting you – but it is not impossible. Simply seeing people through the eyes of love can change how you think and feel about them. Not sure? Well try this.

Sit for a few moments – take a few nice deep breaths and close your eyes. Now bring to mind someone you love very much or something that makes you happy (and if that’s shopping then shame on you!). When you begin to feel that wonderful loving feeling flooding through your body – really get into how great it feels. Notice where you feel this love in your body – is it in your chest, your stomach even? If it was a colour what colour would it be? Would it be warm or cold?

Really focus on how fabulous that feeling is and as you feel this incredible loving feeling throughout your body I want you to bring in an image of the person who you have a problem with. Begin to see them through the eyes of love. Focus on the feelings of love whilst looking at this persons face and you will begin to feel a shift in how you feel about them.

If you can feel negativity rising up as soon as you bring in their image then bring back the loving image again – focus on the great feelings and then focus on the individual again. You will begin to feel less bothered about the person to begin with and over time you may well begin to see them in a completely new light. It’s hard to dislike or hate with love in your heart. You begin to see the other person as an individual with flaws just like yourself (and if you think you are perfect – you aren’t!).

What happens when you look at someone with love – you begin to see them for who they are – flaws and all and you recognise that you yourself aren’t perfect either – we all make mistakes. You will feel less judgemental and more open minded. So what if they let you down that time, haven’t you let people down? Yes they can be a bitch but can’t you be too? Maybe your treatment of them resulted in their rather cold response to you?

There are very few really evil people in the world and sometimes it suits us to have an enemy as it can allow us to feel better about who we are or it can even make us feel ‘good enough’ when we compare ourselves to ‘them’ but to enjoy life isn’t it better to love more and hate less? After all if you are bitter about someone – they probably aren’t even aware of it whilst you sit bubbling and simmering with hatred!

So next time you find yourself overcome with bitterness or feel in the need to judge others – sit with love and see them with different eyes – it really is an eye-opener! We can’t like everyone in life but we can certainly let go of our judgements of them or our negative feelings towards them especially if they impact on our lives – so make a conscious effort to spread the love and you may be surprised at how much more wonderful the world really is.

ADHD And Lack of Understanding

Until you’ve ‘been there’ its vey hard to understand how difficult it can be parenting a child with ADHD or indeed Aspergers, Autism or anxiety disorders such as OCD. I recently went to a psychic with my daughter (I am sceptical but went with her to hold her hand so to speak) however one thing she did touch on was that I have a son who has a lot of frustration and anger surrounding him (I think it was my haggered face that gave the game away) and how his mind always seems to be racing though it doesn’t seem to keep up with his body which is always steps ahead. 

I had to laugh because that is my son to a tee! He is always busy, busy, busy and if he’s not outside running around after a rugby ball or jumping on the trampoline, he’s annoying his brother or bounding around the house. His mind and body are always active – yet his inability to think ahead is surprising when you bear in mind that his mind is always racing – you thing he’d be ahead of the game but he rarely is!

When my son is asked what his main emotional state is he simply replies ‘hyper’. To him that is how he feels most days and for him it can be fun – when he’s experiencing something for the first time or playing rugby – but when he has to focus or sit still or remember his homework or ingredients for DT – then it ain’t so much fun! He is completely disorganised and it doesn’t matter how many timetables I have up on the wall – if he hasn’t written in his planner or had a letter home from school to remind me of everything from homework, to rugby tournaments to cooking ingredients, its very frustrating for me too as there is only so much I can to do help – I can not be with him 24/7!

The worst thing is that my son inevitably ends up in trouble – even though his teachers have been made aware of his needs – so I can see how frustrating school and life can be for him, especially when those that are there to support you really don’t understand how your mind works and label you as the ‘naughty’ child. His behaviour can be horrendous at times but it’s not intentional  and usually as a result of a slow build up of daily frustrations that blow up every now and again and when he blows – reasoning is out of the window.

Most of my friends and family laugh about my son’s ‘temper tantrums’ with some seeing me as a weak single parent that let’s him have his own way – the truth be known – he has clear boundaries just like my other kids – he just doesn’t see them no matter how many times I ground him, take his phone off him, ban the PS3 or keep him from the roller disco! And as far as him thinking about consequences of his behaviour – he can not think that far ahead whereas my youngest will adapt his behaviour accordingly if he wants to play on his tablet when he gets in from school.

But on a positive note – when we go anywhere or he does something new – his excitement is infectious and he literally jumps for joy! He has such a passion for sport and loves doing maths now as his teacher uses games to help her students learn (he detested maths at primary). He is a very bright child and you can have some really great discussions with him – but ask him to follow instructions, that’s a different story.

ADHD is very much misunderstood and I must admit as a secondary school teacher, I found it hard to grasp too. I find that most people see this condition as an excuse for naughty children, even people who are supposedly there to support children with special needs, so what chance do the kids have if their ‘support’ network has a gaping big hole in the middle of their metaphorical net? 

So it was really refreshing to see an article in one of the ladies magazines about Kirk Norcross (From TOWIE) and how his ADHD negatively impacted on him as a child and how he has gained a better grasp of it as he had got older. He talks about his being in trouble most of the time and how he reacted to the drug Ritalin (which helps with attention problems). He talks about his meltdowns and how scary they can be (and if you have ever experienced them they are frightening especially when it’s a young child who has completely lost control) and how ADHD affected his confidence, his sleep and even his love life later on in life.

ADHD is not a choice. It is not something a six year old child decides to have. It isn’t about lack of boundaries. It isn’t just attention issues because the child cant be bothered. It isn’t about choosing to be disorganised or disruptive in class. It isn’t about kicking off for hours and hours on a whim. It’s not about putting yourself at risk because you choose to. It’s certainly now about choosing to be ‘naughty’ and choosing to get into trouble either. ADHD is real – and after living with it for years – I can tell you it’s frustrating for both the child and their carers.

Yet it is still easier for some people to see ADHD as kids being naughty – and that can be by the very people who are supposed to support these kids – so on top of their own frustrations with ADHD they have to deal with the added frustrations of dealing with ill equipped support networks.

We need  more people like Nick Norcross to speak up for ADHD and bring the difficulties and issues that it arises for suffers each and every day. This is something that you don’t grow out of but you learn to cope with as an adult – but think about kids – their lack of emotional maturity leaves them open to a minefield of emotions and negativity on a daily basis.

ADHD is not going to go away – yet with support and guidance it can be managed (and not just with Ritalin) and the earlier kids get help the more able they are to deal positively with their ADHD. It’s only a shame that those in the ‘know’ don’t see how catching mental health problems early and providing support and help can prevent more extreme problems in the future when these kids grow up to become angry adults who have been repeatedly told that they are never good enough.

Prevention is always better than cure and helping a child deal with his symptoms of ADHD in a safe and supportive environment when they are young will allow them to grow up understanding their own issues as well as how to best manage them too. I believe they can take responsibility and the more you give them earlier on the better it will be however with that responsibility is a need for support, guidance and a place to feel safe – and that includes school too.

Parenting a child with ADHD can be hard as can getting them support as it’s seen as ‘pastoral’ (naughty child) and not special educational needs in many schools – perhaps that’s more about funding than anything else – who knows but all I know is that the incidence of ADHD and Aspergers has increased which means that so should funding and the support offered to help with these issues too.



Bounce Back And See the Sun!

I had a conversation with someone recently about what makes us who we are, what makes us ‘tick’ so to speak. Is it our personality, our life experiences or it is something else completely different?

As a therapist I could list a number of factors that determine who we become or our personality such as biological, social, psychological or our genetic make-up, yet whilst all these factor in moulding us – they still do not determine who we really are. Why does one identical twin who has experienced the same childhood as his brother grow up to be so completely different from his twin that it would appear they lived very different lives?

When we grow up we learn from the world around us, from the people who surround us mainly our parents and care-givers. However it is not necessarily the events that we encounter along the road of life that shape our future selves, it is more the meaning we give those events that determine who we become.

Going back to the twins as an example – their father was an abusive alcoholic and often beat the boys. They had a miserable childhood. One twin grew up to be exactly like his father – an abusive alcoholic who treated his kids the same as his dad had treated him, whilst the other became a successful businessman and loving father. When asked why they turned out the way they did – both replied ‘well what else could I become with a father like mine?’

We could argue that these identical twins had the same biological and genetic make-up along with similar experiences and upbringing yet who they became as adults were two very different people. So if who we become as adults isn’t just about genetics and upbringing what is it about?

It is said that it is not the events in our life that make us who we are but how we interpret them. An event only has a meaning when we give it one. So when the guy pulls out in front of you and you have to slam your brakes on, your interpretation could be ‘how rude, who does he think he is.’ However the woman in the car behind you thinks ‘Phew that was a close shave. The guy obviously didn’t see that car coming!’ But whose interpretation is right? Well unless you stop the guy and ask him – who knows!

We read into events certain meanings based on our own belief systems and life experiences. Some people see the world as a bad place and they will probably interpret events very differently from an individual who sees the world as a great place to be. The words failure, rejection or disappointment conjure up pretty negative pictures in most people’s eyes but why?

Rejection could be seen as personal or as an incompatibility; a failure can be taken as proof that you aren’t good enough or feedback – next time I will try a different approach and disappointment might mean that the world is against you or it could be that something better is just around the corner.

How you see your world and the people in it determines how you live your life to a great extent and it is your beliefs that colour your everyday existence in this world. Your days could be grey and overcast or bright with a burst of sunshine – and the only thing that determines what hue your day will have is you.

So the woman in the shop was rude – so what! And the clutch in your car has finally given up the fight – well you were lucky your car passed it’s MOT for the last three years. You can spend each minute looking at the bad things in life which all adds up to hours, days, weeks, years and a life-time of hard work and disappointments or you could choose to see the good in everything you experience.

It’s hard to imagine that your outlook determines just how happy, successful, slim, confident, fulfilled you will be or are – yet it’s empowering to know that by simply eradicating those negative and limiting beliefs you have the potential to transform the world you live in by simply projecting onto it a new, happier, positive and supportive world.

If you find life a struggle then perhaps it’s time to work out what beliefs are holding your back – then and only then can you go on to change them into more supportive beliefs.

Is Obesity An Illness?

I read an article in the Daily Mail (‘Labelling obesity a disease is an excuse not to diet’) and it highlighted a very worrying trend. As a Weight Management Consultant I have helped countless people lose and maintain weight loss and the main emphasis of my program is health and responsibility. I help my clients to change habits, behaviours and even what foods they find appealing, yet they are clear on one point – they have been responsible for their weight gain and accordingly, they will also be responsible for their weight loss too.

There are, more often than no,t emotional triggers to overeating and this is one of the first things I tackle with my clients, however, regardless of whether their triggers are conscious or unconscious – they still have a choice. Each and every time you put something in your mouth you have a choice. Each and every time you drive to the shops or school – that is your choice. When you say yes to that third piece of cake – that is your choice – no one else’s.

I have no doubt that if I told my clients that obesity is an illness the results I would obtain would be far from the excellent ones I get now! Labelling obesity as an illness does change the mind-set of most people (not all I hasten to add). It gives obese people a ‘legitimate’ reason as to why they are overweight and gives them a ‘valid’ excuse to do absolutely nothing about tackling their obesity (which this article highlighted).

Basically labelling obesity as an illness is a cop out clause – ‘I’m overweight because I have an illness’, ‘I can’t control what I eat – it’s an illness and there’s nothing I can do about it’, ‘I’d love to be slim but I’m ill’ and so the excuses go on and on.

By labelling obesity as an illness you are taking away the crucial component of any successful weight loss – responsibility. In order to lose weight you have to accept that you and only you are responsible for your excess weight – not McDonalds, not KFC or even your partner for cooking unhealthy meals – you are 100% responsible for your weight – no-one else.

That’s a scary prospect to many obese people as it means that they actually have to do something about their life style in order to lose weight – they have to make some serious choices in order to shift their excess weight and that means two things – they have to reduce calorific intake and increase activity level – there is no other way to lose weight. And whilst change can be scary – it can also be uplifting – imagine being slim and healthy and feeling more and more confident and positive each and every day? That is a choice too!

And if you are prone to sitting all day eating and blaming everyone and the world for your obesity – well that’s an easy alternative to face than some major life style choices, however, is an early death an easy choice to make? Is the prospect of diabetes, liver disease or cancer an easy option to face? What about choosing to be slim, healthy and focusing on enjoying life – that’s a choice too?

Obesity is a life style choice and it has been proved time after time that there really is no biological reason for obesity (the elusive fat gene). The cause of obesity is pure and simple – it’s a compulsion to overeat.

Whilst there may be many reasons why people feel compelled to overeat (and I have felt compelled on many an occasion!) you still need to accept that it is you that is overeating or responding to those cravings! Once you deal with your compulsion, you will find that your eating habits become more healthier naturally and with little effort.

Anyone can overcome emotional eating and I would rather have the hope that I could overcome something than be told that it’s an ‘illness’ and there is nothing I can do about it (to be honest even then I would still do something!) It is your choice whether your remain overweight and face a future of complications due to your obesity (proper illnesses such as diabetes and coronary heart disease) or do something about it now.

Chose a healthier lifestyle – it is your choice – or chose to blame your ‘illness’ – your choice. I know which one I would choose – no matter how daunting that may be.

If you would like more information on how to overcome your emotional eating then visit http://www.mcrhypnotherapy.com or try my new Be Slim Weight Loss Hypnosis CD available on Amazon uk ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mairead%20russell&sprefix=maire%2Caps)

Big Brother Is Watching

I was out last night with a friend when the topic turned to my blogs. He admired my writing skills in particular one recent post that I had written on love and how it impacts positively on every area of our lives http://alternativelyinspired.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/the-heart-of-the-matter/

I admitted that I had written that post literally from the heart and it hadn’t taken me long to write it at all. And that’s the great thing about love – if you do something where you heart is well and truly in it then things just seem to flow with little or no effort as compared to when you do things that you know you should do but really have little desire to do (paying the bills, doing the tax return!)

I told him how, with some of the posts I write, that I tend to hold back a bit on the content as I don’t want to let the whole me shine through. As we were talking about this I realized it was because I feared people might judge me, which is a contradiction in terms really, as people who read any of my posts will automatically judge me for whatever I write whether or not it is the whole me or just part of me.

I suppose the issue lies with exposing your ‘truth’ to others and what they may think about you as a result. Once you have spoken the truth it is hard to retract especially if it is something so close to your own heart. Yet isn’t it true that whilst we as human beings will always judge each other – I can’t stop that – what we can stop is how we feel about what others think of us.

The only person who can upset you is you. If you believe the ‘hype’ then intrinsically you are accepting the pain that goes with it – so why not accept that you can’t please all the people all the time and that the only person you can ever please is yourself? You are always perfect as you are – no-one else can be you, no one else can do the things quite the way you can – you are you and only you. So accept yourself for who you are and as you do you might find that more people begin to accept you for the genuine person you have become.

And if people don’t accept you and judge you – then that’s their issue not yours! Live your life as you want to and if it upsets others then that’s their issue. Live each day with love in your heart and not only will you brighten your life, you will also touch the lives of others too.

I love You.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thanks you!

The View From Up Here

I was at the doctors yesterday morning when during our consultation he asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a hypnotherapist and he asked did I do smoking and weight loss. I said I did along with anxiety too and he became intrigued with my view on the cause of anxiety.

He asked me in my opinion, what caused anxiety. I told him that stress may well bring on anxiety however the cause is more likely to be an event – traumatic or otherwise – from the person’s past, usually childhood. He seemed to agree with my view (which has been evidenced in several studies and personal experiences too) and believed that the majority of all pathological issues such as depression, anxiety and other more serious illness such as psychosis seem to be rooted in childhood and more specifically linked to relationships with parents/primary carers.

We had a great discussion about how a child’s relationship with their parents can impact on their behaviour, beliefs and relationships as an adult and of course this is true to an extent, however issues such as anxiety may well be caused by events other than relationship issues.

We moved onto an area I have been writing about a lot recently – responsibility. We both agreed that whatever relationship you have in your life, you go into it with a means to extracting something from it whether consciously or subconsciously. When we befriend someone it’s usually because we enjoy their company or they may provide us with a shoulder to cry on or a chance of a good night out – but there is a reason why we befriend that person in the first place.

Likewise in romantic relationships, we seek something from our partner and that tends to be something that we feel is missing either from our life (companionship) or from us as an individual (low self worth). When we feel unloved we depend on our partner to fill the void inside of us – which invariably they rarely do as only we can do that ourselves – so when they fail to live up to our expectations they become the ‘problem’ and not us.

Whilst I can totally appreciate how my conscious and unconscious needs impact on every area of my life including relationships it can be difficult to get my clients to understand this concept. ‘Well he was the one who cheated/hit me/never let me out’ so it’s his fault the relationship is the way it is. I have no doubt that your partner treats you disrespectfully but who is allowing him to treat you that way? Why did you ‘invite’ him into your life in the first place? 

You are responsible for every relationship you have – and if the relationship turns sour or abusive you have a choice. Stay or leave. Understandably there are relationships that you can’t walk away from – your kids for one – however the same still applies to these relationships too. What is it about the other person that upsets you? What is it in you that you see in them?

I have a friend who allows her son to smack and throw things at her. He punches and kicks his grandparents as she sits watching. She is finding him a ‘handful’ and doesn’t know what to do with him. Start by drawing some boundaries based on respect first. If she learnt to respect herself and other people her son will learn to respect others too. What is lacking in us can, due to our lack of awareness, also be lacking in our kids (‘the sins of the father’).

So next time a relationship presents a problem for you – ask yourself what is it about me that is creating this problem – it may not be pleasant (I know!) yet it gives you the chance to rectify those relationships that deserve to be saved  and break free from those that cant be. Whilst responsibility gives you the opportunity to transform relationships and your life it doesn’t mean in anyway that things are always your fault. It merely means that as part of the ‘problem’ you need to address the fact that you are involved in it – like it or not – and because you are involved you have the ideal chance to resolve the issue. 

Self awareness begins by accepting responsibility for all the problems in your life – no one can hurt you unless you allow them too – so if you are in a hurtful relationship then why are you in it and why are you putting up with it? As you begin to learn more about yourself, your limiting beliefs, values and what you want from your life you begin to take control of your own destiny – if you hand over responsibility for every problem in your life to others – then you will always be at everyone else’s beck and call!

Take responsibility today and live a more fulfilling life. Love yourself, nurture yourself and forgive yourself daily and watch as others begin to love you, nurture you and accept you for who you really are. After all only you can change your world.

Younger Love

I was reading an article recently covering the differing opinions towards relationships where a big age gap existed between the couples and I found it very interesting.

There was a definite divide between those who found a big age gap in relationships acceptable and those who didn’t as you would expect. There were those who said that if you love someone it shouldn’t matter what age the other person was and then there were the opposing arguments focusing on what, if anything, the couples could have in common with each other, let alone the differing maturity levels.

I could argue for both sides – it’s impossible to chose who you fall in love with that’s true however, the age gap can present a myriad of problems. Different levels of maturity, fertility and children, acceptance from family members and society to name but a few.

However what was more intriguing about people’s views on this subject was how most people found it more acceptable for a man to have a relationship with a younger woman than it was for a woman to have a relationship with a younger man.

We tend to view the aging process differently with the sexes with men deemed to age better than women. Where the man’s fine lines and grey hair add a certain appeal to the older man these very same things seem to ‘age’ a woman. However with more women looking after themselves these days I think the older woman can look just as great as her male counterpart (fifty is very definitely the new forty) so why should society still judge a woman more for having a ‘toy boy’ than their male equivalent?

With the high divorce rate there are more people in their forties, fifties etc who are looking for love and where by generations ago the image of the older man having a fling with his younger secretary was seen almost acceptable and as an adage to his virility, it was not the same for a woman.

A man can father a child well into his sixties and seventies – look at Steve Martin who became a dad at 67 and Des O’Connor who was in his seventies when he had his son – however most woman become infertile before the age of fifty.

When we judge women unfairly when it comes to choosing a younger male perhaps it’s down to our basic animal instincts (fertility) and social convention (what has gone before). However with the likes of Kim Cattrell and Madonna giving their older male peers a run for their money when it comes to choosing a younger partner, perhaps the tide is changing? And if it is – then brilliant!

Whatever your opinion – it is entirely down to the individuals themselves who they chose to be with. If they are two consenting adults then let them get on with it! I have to say though – the idea of the younger man seems appealing and even exciting (I am sure there are many women who would agree with me here) however the reality may be slightly different.

Basically any relationship is about compatibility and not about what the outside world may or may not think of you. So if you have found love in a younger mate then great – who is anyone else to judge you? If you choose younger mates as a means to boost your ego – then good for you but perhaps you might like to try someone a little older next time – who knows, you might be surprised at how much more you have in common with them than their younger models!

Perception and Judging

I was trying to explain the idea of perception to my eldest son this morning in a bid to get him to assess his behaviour and how it impacts on his life. (He is on report for his poor behaviour at school – he has special educational needs and if he struggles to cope with work in class his behaviour is affected (why he is on report and not assisted in class is a different issue and discussed on my other blog! http://maireadrussell.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nowhere-to-run-to/))

Needless to say I didn’t have much joy with this – he struggles to understand how his behaviour impacts on others let alone how the perception of his behaviour and impact negatively on how teachers respond to him! So I left it and vowed to come back to this issue another day.

However this brought to mind my own experiences of how our perceptions of people are swayed by other people’s judgements. I was teaching at a school in Botswana and was informed that I would be teaching a boy, let’s say his name was John (it wasn’t) , who had been expelled from his last school due to poor behaviour.

Thankfully I didn’t go in with any preconceived ideas of how this boy’s behaviour would be – I didn’t have the time to think about it in all honesty as I was teaching him that morning. I was surprised by what I discovered – I actually quite liked the boy! He was outspoken – yes – and he liked to have a bit of a laugh but that was manageable. He was bright and if you kept him busy he quietened down considerably.

Later that week I was praising John’s behaviour and work and was met by blank stares from some of his other teachers. They were aghast! They found him to be rude, disruptive and a problem. It was my turn to be stunned. Was this the same boy I was teaching? Unfortunately it would appear that a number of teachers had prejudged this boy based on his past history and had him earmarked as trouble before he had even entered their class. So what ever he did – rightly or wrongly – was prejudged. He didn’t stand a chance!

We have all unfortunately prejudged other people at some time or other, based on other’s perceptions of them. It is part of human nature to prejudge (it makes life simpler – we don’t have to judge for ourselves) but it leaves us sometimes with a tainted view on how we perceive another individual.

As we have already formed an opinion of them we meet them with preconceived ideas of how they will behave and because we do this so well, we then begin to look for evidence to back up our opinion of them. And it’s amazing what you can find when you go looking for things – even if they don’t exist!

There have been several studies looking into how our perceptions of others affect how we respond and how when we are given incorrect information about an individual, we subconsciously begin to look for evidence to back up this information. One such study was done in a school in the States. Teachers were provided information on students that was incorrect. So children who were underperforming were reported to be gifted; child who were reported to struggle  were in fact gifted, and another had behavioural issues when in fact this was far from the truth.

Over time, the child who was ‘gifted’ made amazing progress and was pushed to excel. His teacher noted how bright he was. The child who struggled (he was in fact gifted) did indeed gain poor grades and the ‘naughty’ child was of course found to be naughty! So now you can begin to understand how your preconceived ideas about other people may well be affecting how you respond to them!

So next time you listen to mindless gossip or your work colleague expresses an opinion on the new manager, make a note that what the other person is expressing is merely their perception (which might even be based on somebody else’s perception too) and not fact. When you meet someone new base your opinion of them – on what you see before you and not what you have heard. After all, wouldn’t you prefer someone to judge you for who you are and not who other people think you are?

Whilst perception is based on a number of factors other than just other people’s opinions (your own life experiences, past relationships etc) it is important to remember that who we see in front of us is not necessarily who other people see and neither is it ‘correct’ either – it is after all our perception.

So next time you find yourself forming an opinion about someone who you haven’t met – think again. Perception is just an opinion, an idea – it is not fact. So make sure you make up your own mind about other people just as you would like other people to make up their own minds about you and remember – who you see might not be who they really are!

Nowhere To Run To

I am exhausted today and felt like staying in bed and hiding – but alas work calls and this blog. So here I am writing – which incidently I love to do – and venting – which I do occasionally and when ever I have the need to let off steam (usually in my car when I’m on my own).

Is it me or is there a real need for this country and it’s education system to get it’s head out of the dark ages of academia and move into an integrated classroom full of wonderful kids with all manners of backgrounds, learning abilities and educational needs? Because as far as I am seeing the education system hasn’t changed much since I left school.

My eldest son struggled his way through junior school which luckily provided a safer environment for him to explore the education system with both it’s good and bad bits thrown in. The fortunate thing about primary school for kids with learning difficulties and/or other ‘issues’ (ADHD, Aspergers, OCD, Dyspraxia etc) is the underwhelming nature of the classroom and school environment compared to secondary school.

My son who is now in Year 7 had moved to secondary school with his file of Individual Educational Plans, his Reports from CAMHS, along with other bits of information. I dreaded the first few weeks – every new school years has been hideous as my son finds it near impossible to deal with change – leaving class for his clarinet lessons caused enough anxiety for him so I was worried for him as he started his first week at ‘big school’.

The psychologist from CAMHS commented that maybe things might change for my son when he moves to secondary – for the better – I doubted this but the first month was promising. I was hopeful. Maybe I had been wrong? Maybe he is ‘normal’? Maybe it was just the primary school? If you have a kid with ‘special’ needs sometimes you do doubt and begin to hope that you got it wrong.

Needless to say my son’s issues have become more obvious over this last term as he struggles to deal with the enormity of a secondary school and it’s demands. His behaviour which has always been an major problem has got steadily worse. Whereas he was managing to keep a lid on his frustrations for most of the time at primary school he can no longer do this and his behaviour has ‘blossomed’ during school hours now too. He has truanted on a few occasions and he is on report for his poor behaviour and his lateness to most classes.

I have been back and forth to the school – they know his issues but because he was ‘quiet’ and presented no obvious problems in class – little support has been offered. Now the proverbial s**t has hit the fan so to speak and my son has finally lost control and is so overwhelmed and frustrated that his behaviour has become disruptive in school – have the school stepped up? Have they sought to get him extra help? Did they call me in for a meeting – after all they are aware of his issues and I had warned them this might happen at some point? NO.

They were to put him on a red report which is the ‘most serious’ one due to his poor behaviour, however I have appealed against this. His behaviour is directly proportional to his inability to cope – NOT because he chooses to be disruptive (cause and effect here – he isn’t coping (he finds the work hard) – he’s asking for help and not getting it ‘just get on with it’ – he’s getting frustrated. Doesn’t take a genius to work that out does it?

I have had to call a meeting (again) to review his support at school (he still has no support in class even though he has attention/organisation/specific learning difficulties). The school seems to be quite happy, in view of his difficulties, to throw the book at him and leave him completely lost without a way out.

So my question is – how bad does my son’s behaviour have to get before the Special Educational Needs department, his form tutor, his head of year or any other teacher express a concern over this or the underlying problem – that at he seems to be struggling in class and to complete work set? How long will I have to wait to get a Statutory Assessment? What if anything will CAMHS do to help my son? Do I sit back and watch my son fall apart because funding might be a little tight? (I was told this from his head teacher at primary!)

I have no idea what my son is going through as I did well at school, as did his older sister and as is his younger brother. Whilst I fail to get why he finds it difficult to follow simple instructions, remember which books to take to school, can’t forward pla or how to learn from previous incidents – I don’t need to know how his mind works – I just need to realize that I have to be there for him and support him in the best way possible. It’s just a shame that the education system is till continuing to fail him by not supporting his education needs.

ADHD, Aspergers and OCD, along with other syndromes such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, selective mutism – are incredibly stressful for anyone to deal with let alone a child. And if you have a child with special needs – you have my sympathies. Every week it’s one step forward and six steps back. Days are great one minute then a disaster the next. Life certainly is very unpredictable for our family – but we are simply dealing with the blowout – what must it be like inside the mind of a child like mine?

With support my son’s behaviour I know will change and his work attainment will improve (it has deteriorated quite considerably during Year 7) and he will be able to reach his highest potential and feel safe doing it. What more would any parent want for their child?

The Heart of the Matter

I am amazed at how differently the world appears when my heart is full of love. I am amazed at how differently I perceive other people when my heart if full of love. I am constantly in awe of how fantastic unconditional love truly is and the power it has to transform lives, heal emotional and physical pain and make the world a truly happier place.

Our main goal as human beings is to love – not hate. We are on this planet to help not hurt others and when we love and help people our lives suddenly become all that we want them to be. We begin to see the real beauty in everything we see around us. We can begin to see the real world that exists outside – the one which is full off amazing people, opportunities and a life full of potential.

So why do so many people turn their backs on love and choose hatred as their life-long companion? How has it become acceptable for many to hurt and not help? The pain that life presents to each and every one of us is sent to us as a way to learn, to grow – to see that the only way to truly live, to experience life – is to turn to love, unfortunately some people drown in their pain and the only life line they have is hurt, anger and bitterness.

When we let love in we lessen the pain. We lessen the hurt, the anger, the bitterness. When we let love in we begin to see that what we once saw as pain is merely our misinterpretation of events or people. When your heart is full of love you begin to understand that others may try to hurt you because they are hurt – so you become more aware of your own compassionate heart. Instead of rejecting these people you become more accepting and as a result you begin to open up their lives to love. Nothing is rarely as it seems until you let the light of love in – then you begin to see the real beauty of what lurks in the darkness. When the light of love shines, life blossoms.

So let love in to your hearts daily – it’s not always easy – but believe me it is truly magical. You begin to see that despite everything you will always be who you are at the very core of you and that who you are will always be enough. Without love you will never be enough but with love you are always enough.

Love really is all you need because when you begin to love yourself you begin to love others. You begin to see your self worth and your value in life. Abundance comes with love. Love comes with love. Success comes with love. Happiness comes with love.

So focus on love – on happy memories – on the feeling of love daily – send loving intentions to every problem you have both inside you and outside. And when you look at the world with love you begin to let go of the pain – pain is an illusion – love is real.

So open up your heart and practice loving meditations daily and transform how you feel and how the world responds to you!