Keep doing what you’ve always done and…well, you know the rest.

For my birthday, my husband bought me a new hair dryer-y thingamabobby. It’s called ‘Big Hair’ or something like that, and I love it.

Now, it has essentially only got two buttons. One that turns the dryer bit on and one that turns the spinny bit on. The spinny thing only comes on while you are pressing the button ie when you take your finger off, it stops spinning.

The spinning aspect to the dryer can occasionally be a little problematic. Sometimes, my hair gets caught and it starts trying to yank my hair out. The instructions say to simply remove your finger from the button to stop the spinning, if this hair-yanking scenario transpires, and all will be well.

Sounds easy, right?

No matter how many times it happens, instead of calmly removing my finger from the button, I begin to panic that my hair is stuck while the spinning part of the dryer spins perilously closer and closer to my scalp.

Why don’t I just take my finger off the button?????

I am in complete control of this device. At no time has it done anything contrary to what I am pressing the buttons to make it do.

Which then begs the question…..why do I panic? Why do I not just turn it off? And every time this happens, and I turn it off after panicking and then remembering that I am the one controlling it, I wonder why I can’t just do that straight away. Why is my immediate reaction to panic?

It’s a bit like some circumstances in life, isn’t it? We are in control of a situation, fully able to stop whatever is happening, but we don’t. We panic instead.

As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. A bit like, if you keep pressing the spinning button, the spinning will keep on going.

Why do we persist as humans to keep repeating behaviour that is harming us, causing us problems and doing us damage?

Why?

The answer to that probably deserves it’s own blog post, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to comb over all my bald spots before the family notices them.

Quick disclaimer: Let me be clear, the Big Hair is great, it’s the user that needs some attention 😛

How do you smell?

On Friday,  I received a surprise bouquet of flowers. Given that my husband and I both work from home, the added touch of the flowers being delivered to our door by the florist, made the gesture even more significant.

The flowers are beautiful. And fragrant. The scent meanders its way throughout our living/dining/kitchen area.

On Friday, I also received a small bunch of home-grown jasmine from a dear friend. As we all know, the scent of jasmine is rich and sweet. Deciding that the big bunch were exuding enough fragrance for one area, I placed the little bunch of jasmine on my desk in our office.

Now, just about everywhere I go, I can smell flowers, reminding me of the love of the two people who gave them to me. Their scent follows me from room to room, enveloping me in ‘warm fuzzies’ wherever I am.

It has made me think about smells. They get in everywhere, don’t they? Good or bad, smells permeate the air and either bring pleasure or discomfort (anyone who has accidentally had a used nappy left in an inconspicuous spot for a few days knows the joys of that particular type of smell!)

It reminds me of people. Some people bring joy to my life just by being in it. People whose fragrant personalities make me feel good, make me feel loved. People with qualities that add a sweetness to my day and enhance its beauty.

And then there is the other sort of person, the ones who leave their metaphorical bad smell lingering behind them wherever they go. And, like a smelly nappy left behind, make the atmosphere around them, hard to handle. People whose irritability makes my day dull and heavy, whose negativity makes me try not to breathe in, lest it pervades my life too.

So, do you fill the room with a sweet scent, making people want to breathe deeply when you are close to them? Or are those around you plugging their noses and politely looking for the nearest exit?

How do you smell?

Do you have enemies?

One of my favourite Winston Churchill quotes is: “You have enemies? Good. That means you actually stood up for something in your life.”

We all, if we are honest, have an innate desire to be liked. Most of us want to please others. And rightly so. It is good to want to see others happy and knowing we may have had a hand in that happiness is a wonderful thing.

But.

When we pursue approval and pleasing others above all else, above doing what is right, or doing what is right for us, we run the risk of denying our own selves and that can lead to all sorts of interesting issues (just ask my psychologist friend!).

I don’t think Winston Churchill’s quote gives us licence to run rough-shod over other people’s feelings, opinions or beliefs. I think it more encourages us to stand up for what we believe in and if that makes us some enemies along the way, then so be it.

There are plenty of people out there who don’t like me (and not just because I have stood up for something…can you believe some people just don’t like me?! Shocking, isn’t it!) and I am okay with that. I didn’t used to be but life has an uncanny way of ensuring we have the right experiences to get us where we need to be.

I have been labelled as a stickler for the truth by some. I was particularly pleased with that one – if you are not going to like me because you view me as unwavering from the truth, then great! I would rather upset you than compromise my beliefs just to make you feel better about yourself.

So. Do you have enemies? When have you stood up for something even though the consequence was people not liking you?

 

Contentment. Do you have it?

I have been thinking a lot lately about contentment. What does it mean to be content? What exactly does it look like?

Sometimes contentment can be confused with having no future dreams or aspirations. Certainly in my younger years, I kind of had the idea that contentment meant you had given up on expecting or hoping for anything different. Almost that being content meant you were ‘putting up with’ your current circumstances.

Now that I am older and maybe fractionally wiser – but that is debatable! – I actually have contentment as a bit of a goal. I have long since given up on ‘happiness’ as a goal, not because I am not happy essentially, but because happiness is such a fickle and hard to grasp entity that it is pointless trying to attain it. No, contentment is very different from happiness.

Here is what I have concluded: contentment is an absence of jealousy. For me, anyway.

Jealousy often arises in us when we see others having things/people/attributes that we don’t have. If I feel jealous of someones new job, new house, trip overseas, move to the country, new baby, then maybe I need to have a look at myself.

Often we will be jealous because we are not truly content.

Contentment, to me, means being completely okay with where I am at. That I feel no competition when I hear of what others are doing. Being truly pleased for someone else instead of inside griping that I wish it was me with that new <insert desirable item/situation>.

Being content doesn’t mean giving up on goals. I can be content that my goal for a trip to Europe will be realised in about ten years. I don’t have to give up that goal in order to be content.

When I truly let go of the want, want, want tendency that is in all of us, I can begin to tread the path of contentment. And I can also begin to feel genuine joy at another’s achievements.

How about you? Are you content? What does that look like for you?