Monday, 25 November 2013

Gut Feelings and why I wish I'd listen to them.

I'm sure it is fair to say that we have all experienced gut feelings before. Some call in intuition or a sixth sense and I firmly believe it's remnants of our own human magic that we probably once employed a lot more than we do today. And yet how many of us ever heed the advice of our gut?

The very latest example of not listening to my gut happened about two weeks ago when a lovely bloke came around to measure my old and broken Crittall windows, as we have finally got the funds together to purchase new fandangled windows that will actually help us keep the house warm.

What could have possibly been the problem? It was about the halfway point of the meeting when suddenly my gut sprang to life. It just simply kept repeating "no" at me.

The psychology of gut feelings has been somewhat simplified. We see, hear, smell, taste or feel something (sense) and our brains rummage through the millions of memories we have and link that sense experience to a memory. In most of these events we cannot actually conjure up the memory so we are left with a gut feeling.

After my experience I was perplexed for days and tried to pin it down to something that was said or otherwise occurred in our brief meeting (measuring windows doesn't take long). But nothing would come up and in the end, and after several conversation with my husband where he reassured me I was nuts, I gave up and went ahead with the New-Windows-Process which involved new soffits, fascias and guttering too.

So the soffits fascias and gutters went up pretty much immediately and I was relatively happy. I mean, really, what am I going to know about these things? I was concerned about some unevenness on the front of the house but was assured that once the windows were in it would be fine.

It isn't.

On top of the issue of the wonky soffits I also had to deal with a very unprofessional and quite frankly - disgusting - workman, who refused to give me his company name when asked. I will find out his company name of course.

I was also quoted for triple glazed windows.

And they aren't.

So, there is a lesson to be learnt here. Even when you cannot justify your gut feeling, your brain is programmed to alert you to situations that haven't happened yet - because similar ones have happened before. Listen to it.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Nobody Mention Therapy

There are many social hang-ups over the word 'therapy' as it seems to insinuate that you have a problem that needs fixing. Physiotherapy is a therapy that works to improve physical disability, Radiotherapy is a therapy that aims to improve health through killing cancerous cells, and Aromatherapy is a therapy used to improve mood and stress levels. We falsely associate the word with negative connotations even though the results are often very positive.

As soon as you mention 'I'm in therapy' the reaction is always 'Oh dear, this girl must be crazy', which I don't think is accurate at all. And this makes you feel ashamed about seeking advice or talking to someone professionally. So we just don't talk about it. But isn't that the point of therapy? To be more open about yourself? From my personal experience, I was never 'fixed' but my mind was opened up and it's the best thing I've ever done.

I have signed up for therapy on two separate occasions now. The first was during my final University year when I was dealing with low self-confidence. I've never been overly confident but it suddenly became so low that it began to affect my health. I'd go days without eating properly because I didn't want to go outside. I had a theory into the reason why - a housemate went through a phase of treating me like I was invisible - but therapy actually revealed a lot of interesting factors that helped me to really understand and accept who I am, regardless of the people around me. This councillor was a very creative man, he recommended books written by Edward De Bono and I am adamant he helped me with my creative work as well as my social life. To this day I remember his advice whenever I question whether or not to go outside or to say my thoughts out loud. He also looked a bit like Santa Claus which is probably why I left each session craving pie.

The second, more recent, therapy sessions were recommended to me by my GP when I was having really frequent headaches. It turned out to be Sinusitis rather than stress but I'm glad I attended these sessions anyway. I witnessed somebody die horrifically for the first time just before my second session and I was pleased to have a professional to talk to. This therapist was very different to the first, she didn't say much at all throughout weeks 1-5 but supplied me with useful 'homework' tasks and gave me a huge review in my final session. This completely opened up my way of thinking. You naturally assume that you are reviewing your life situations in the only way you can, the right way, but when someone encourages you to really think about it, your entire thought process changes. You don't think what you think at all, you're doing what you assume is right rather than what is logical. You finally understand how and why you're stuck in a certain mind set and you feel like you've been set free. It helped that we had a common interest in Liam Neeson, and I spent most of session 5 acting out scenes from 'The Grey'. On reflection that's probably why she suggested in session 6 that I'd gained all I could from her expertise...

There are so many things that were holding me back that I didn't even realise, in both occasions, until my mind was shaken around a bit. I've realised that it's good practise to admit your flaws, perhaps not so publicly on here, but I want to recommend therapy to absolutely everyone. It's useful, fascinating and extremely rewarding. More importantly - it doesn't mean that you have a problem, it just means you are open to exploring what makes you who you are. And I think that's a great thing.

I believe that self-evaluation is the most powerful skill you can acquire. And I'm happy to say that I'm sure I will seek another therapist in the future :)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Twenty Seven

Today I turn 27. This to me is just unreal. Where the hell did the last 10 years go? Last time I checked I was 16 and leaving school, now I'm almost 30. I think I'm about to have a late 20's crisis. When I was young I thought of this age as ancient, I thought 'wow when I'm 27 I'll be married with kids, have a house and a good job'. Hmm, didn't quite work like that. I haven't achieved anything I wanted to by this age. I'm not happy with my work life, I'm unmarried and have no kids, although not for the want of trying! I look around and everyone is getting married, posting scan photos on Facebook, everyone has good jobs….I'm not even engaged and have no babies arriving in the near future. What do I have to show for my life so far? Really not a lot. I guess I should count my blessings, I have the two best friends in the world, a supportive family, an amazing boyfriend who would do anything for me and a gorgeous puppy with a roof over my head and food on the table which is more than some people have. I just wish I had a few things I could say I've achieved at the age of 27! So I'm considering 27 as the start of better things to come. I am determined to make my business work better this year and if not I'll give up and move on to new things. I want to do a lot more photography work this year, travel more, do more exciting things, see my friends more, save more money, do up the house, have a baby or at least get pregnant, look into getting married in the near future, and do things that scare me, take the opportunities that come my way and be happier and more relaxed as a person. I'll be 30 in 3 years and would like to say I have achieved a few more things by then. Here's to new beginning and better times...