Category Archives: Self Improvement

Jake meets The Man (A short story) [FICTION]

Jake sat in the rather basic wooden chair waiting. He was nervous, which might explain the bead of sweat on his forehead that seemed to be growing by the second and now threatened to drop with a huge splash to the floor!

The man sitting across the table was eyeing him steadily, not meanly, but intently enough to cause Jake to squirm slightly in his seat. Jake silently cursed himself for what he thought was a sign of weakness, and he also cursed the friend of his who had suggested he meet this guy.

The man across the table looked down at Jakes’ papers and that gave him a chance to relax and search the features of the older man for an answer to what he was thinking. He was middle-aged, no medals for getting that one right; he had a brightness in his eyes that not many people had. Jake cynically thought that it was no surprise seeing as the guy was a multi-millionaire and very sought after by all accounts. He was somehow familiar to him which he put down to having seen him in the papers or TV perhaps. But anyway, no answers were forthcoming.

Had his pitch fallen on death ears? Perhaps his sales tactics weren’t aggressive enough? Maybe his plans for promoting a strategy to take a larger market share didn’t hit the mark?

The man (he was now thinking of him as ‘The Man’ now) sighed and looked up with a slightly mournful look on his face. The droplet of sweat decided that its moment to fall was now and Jake felt his dreams splash to the ground along with that small, salty droplet.

His head dipped slightly and his body rigid with mortification of his failure, Jake readied himself to stand and leave but finally the man spoke, “Do you have dreams Jake? Do you have ambitions for a successful future?”.

Jake licked his lips in preparation to answer the odd questions and finally stuttered “Y, y, yes sir, of course I do sir!”. Again he cursed himself silently for the unwanted stutter.

The man’s reply came back like a snake striking its victim, “You and everyone else I meet Jake!”, he paused for a moment and then went on, “Tell me, to be successful, do you have to be more competitive than the others? Do you have to be better than the rest?”

Sensing a trick but not knowing the answer, Jake, leaning forward, went for the obvious response, “Yes. Yes you do. You will fail if you don’t. You will not succeed if you cannot beat the rest” he said firmly. Jake sat back in his chair feeling just a little bit pleased with himself and gave the man an ever so tiny smile. None came back and that mournful look spread across the man’s face again.

Something was wrong here and Jake was starting to worry. Actually he was beginning to think that this was a big waste of time! But then the man spoke with surprising gentleness and an emotion cracking the words that came out of his mouth, “Competition is not the only way to be successful you know. Perhaps you look at me and assume that I was the hardest, toughest go getter of them all to be able to sit here with my empire ticking along around me? No Jake. Far from it!”. The man was vehement now and continued,  ”I’ve been called weak so many times. Meek perhaps, but not weak”, A wry smile spread across his face. He continued, “I’ve been told I’m too soft. That I don’t do enough to get the best price for my services. I’ve been told I’m not intent enough on getting the things I want. People say I look after others far too much ahead of my own wants and needs. And so the list of my competitive inadequacies goes on. And on. Yet here I am. Doing quite well thank you very much. What then is the answer, if it isn’t competition?”.

The man had stopped talking for a few seconds Jake realised and I shook himself out of the reverie his voice had taken him too. He was expecting an answer!

“Ummm so not competition then?”, Jake nervously asked.

“No. Not that”, he replied.

Jake felt like a pivotal moment had arrived and he started racking his brains for the solution. More sweat was forming, on his brow and hands, this time unnoticed as Jake frantically searched in his mind for the answer. He knew his future here depended on it but he was struggling. Surely being the best, the smartest, the hardest working competitive person was how it was done?

Cursing his friend again suddenly reminded him what she had said to him about The Man. “He’s a creator Jake.”, she had said. “You could say he has got where he is by creating the business firstly in his mind, then by acting upon his visions of creativity”.

The penny dropped and Jake looked up into the mans face, the smile a real one this time.

“You create what you want by first visioning it in your mind, then working towards it as though it was already there!”.

A huge smile spread across the mans face as he stood up and held out his hand. Jake took it but not before wiping the sweat from his palms.

 

Related: Creative Capitalism

Leaning against my window (A short story) [FICTION]

I lean against my open bedroom window looking at the buildings, the lit street lights and parked cars. Nothing moves. All is still.

There are a few lights on in the houses, suggesting life of some sort. But no other signs. I question the unseen souls. Would you miss me if I left the world right now?

A moth flutters into my field of view disturbing my thoughts. Then a cat screeches at an unseen foe. A light flickers at a window, perhaps a TV being watched by its owners? Clothing waves on a washing line with the warm breeze.

Okay, so there is life out there, it is not all still. Now that I look carefully, I can see that I was wrong. I sigh to myself and, finally, after a terrible day, a small smile reaches my lips.

It’s not there for long because I recall what has befallen me. Befallen my soul. I want to make the decision I know I will regret. The anger boils up inside me and then quickly subsides, only to be replaced by a tearful sadness. A sadness I have not experienced before. Then the confusion takes over. Consternation takes over the ageing features of my middle-aged face.

I take another look out of my room, looking for answers somehow. None come. Not yet anyway.

I’m briefly reminded by a seagull call of where I live . Which in turn reminds me of the closeness of and greatness of the ocean, the vastness of the seas and then the unfathomable depths of the universe.

Can there really be a better way to live life I wonder? Right now, I wish it to end. I tell myself I cannot take any more. I squeeze strongly on the window sill as if to give my thoughts strength, credence and truth.

But it’s no good, a thought slips unseen, unwanted actually, into my troubled brain. A thought that could turn the tide of my emotions. But no, I’m full of negative emotions and will not let a positive thought take hold, especially not that one.

I remove my shirt to allow the warm, summer breezes to wash over my skin. I sigh and then breathe deeply. It hits me then that I’m starting to relax, but I push it away again, this time, deliberately allowing the sadness and tears to well up again inside me.

A bigger movement catches my eye. A youth with hood up over his head, rucksack on his back walks out into the cobbled lane a hundred feet away. His head is down but I stop breathing, not wishing for him to see me stood at my window. I think to myself that he’s probably up to no good but as he comes closer I can hear the sob of tears flowing, his emotions appearing to mirror my own.

The youth stops in the middle of the street, and looks up to the skies, anguish on his face and a mournful cry on his tongue.

“That’s my lot world,” he shouts, “that’s my life!”, he cries. With that, he falls to his knees, reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a gun. And with obvious intent places it against his head.

“Nooooooo!!!!”, I desperately call out, and before I can stop it, the thought that has been itching at the outskirts of my brain leaps into life, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you’re emotionally down or charged!”

I stopped and heard myself as if someone else had spoken. Shocked that I had spoken aloud the nagging idea inside me. My thoughts ran freely, running over each other with their desperate need to be heard. And then I stopped breathing as it dawned on me what a fool I had been.

I looked down at the youth who was staring at me aghast, his gun now lying on the floor forgotten, arms limp by his sides.

“W w what?”, the youth asked.

Then, as much to myself as the youth, I repeated, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you are emotionally down or charged.”

The end.

 

 

Related post:

http://wp.me/p3klcz-cC

(Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction)

 

Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction

When you’re down

When you’re down, that can be the hardest time to stop and consider your actions.  When you’re down, you are often emotionally susceptible too. When you’re down, your inclination towards decisions can be negative.  When you’re down, listening to advice and making positive steps to make things better can be almost alien.

In other words, Future Thinking is difficult to do!

Composure

Composure is a challenge to you when you are low or depressed. Perhaps you get stressed or highly nervous? Keeping your composure is essential to making correct long term (future thinking) decisions.  When you are down, try and remind yourself of just one thing:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

I know many people, many friends present and past who, when they are down, make life changing decisions. In response to situations where they fail, or they just hit a down day, they decide things like:

I'm not going to do that again!

or:

Why should I bother? I'm just not going to try any more!

If only we could keep our composure when we are down, we wouldn’t make stupid decisions! I know, I know, it’s easier said than done!  But once again, try and think of:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Perhaps, you should make up a little card (say post card sized) and leave it in a place where you will see it every day to remind yourself?

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Why bother?

Why should you bother going to the effort? Well, if only you knew the fantastic things that can come your way if you overcome your propensity towards bad decisions when you are emotionally down. Maybe you are asking something like “How do you know they are bad decisions?”. I’ve been there. Many times. That’s how I know! Believe me, making life changing decisions or in fact any decision that could be regarded as negative is bad for you, bad for your future.

The other side of the coin

I’ve seen the other side. I have seen the incredibly positive affects that not making life decisions when depressed can have.  So okay it’s tricky to make positive steps, or positive decisions when emotionally hurt. I admit that. But you have the power to not make poor decisions when you are feeling low. You do have it in you. And if you can do this much, then you are a big leap forward to making more of your life. Of reaching your goals.

Finally

When low, depressed or feeling down, just remind yourself of this topic, this very important edict (make it a law in your mind) to not make poor decisions during bad times. Never forget that everyone suffers with their low days, even the greats of our world. The great sportsmen and women, the highly intellectual minds who solve mysteries of the universe. And also the successful business men and women all have their bad moments.  I think that one trait these people have is not to make bad ‘Future Thinking‘ decisions for their lives. They keep going and keep going some more.

Try it and you’ll see the huge benefits!

Take care,

Jonathan

When 1,000 criticisms bounce off my skin but one man’s belief in me makes me cry

My inner belief

I’ve built up a core belief inside me over the years. Most of it over the last 12-18 months but nevertheless a belief that allows me to be strong despite any criticisms or ‘flaming arrows’.  It is this belief that helps me be strong in the face of adversity or strong when I don’t feel very strong at all!

When I was going through a ‘tough time’ in my life, I suffered from depression and really didn’t feel like even leaving the house! All that has changed thankfully.  Now I go out each day with this core thing inside me which just won’t go away – my belief that I’m on the right track and that I will become what I want to become.

One man’s belief in me makes me cry

However, someone I have know for years now, who has helped me in the past and who has guided me; made me cry and brought me low!

He seems in a low place himself right now and so when he wrote:

“I have only one thing left now and that is belief in you for all these years”

It made me cry….

So, how did I react?

After my little choking up episode, I went for a walk and that belief that has made me strong came flooding in. Now, I more and more want to succeed on my chosen path simply to show this person that their faith in me WAS worth it!

What an amazing and powerful thing ‘belief’ is.

Go get some yourself. I think they sell it at your local supermarket, pub, workplace, websites etc ad infinitum….

Take care and believe in yourself.

Laughter is a medicine

Reader’s Digest

If you are old enough, you may remember Reader’s Digest. In fact, silly me, it’s still published today, but I remember the magazine as a kid way back in 70′s and 80′s er 60′s and 70′s. One of the sections I used to read (I didn’t understand the rest!) was “Laughter is a medicine” and that phrase has stuck with me for several decades now. Of course, I didn’t really understand what the phrase meant, I just thought it sounded good.

Now of course, you will find many websites and magazine writers (who are experts in health) tell you that indeed laughter is good for your health! Apparently, laughter is a pain killer, a relaxant, a stress reliever, releases endorphins which make you happy, boosts immunity, protects the heart, makes us more attractive(!) and much more. Got to be worth a try then! I personally like the ‘makes us more attractive’ benefit….

Self improvement and laughter

Setting aside the proclaimed health benefits for a moment, how does laughter (and smiling maybe) help ones ‘self’. How can it positively affect our self improvement? Apparently laughter relieves stress and I believe it! So less stress and more happiness equals self improvement.

What to do about stress

At times my job is stressful and I find myself getting a little morose, down or generally fed up with the way things are going. The answer I think is to have a jolly good belly laugh! Watch a comedian like Stewart Francis on Youtube or go to see a live comedian near you. Maybe just deliberately joke about with a friend? In fact, why not laugh out loud for no reason at all?

Go on, be daft and (try not to feel embarrassed) laugh out loud right now!

Everything’s gonna be alright

I start each day drinking coffee looking out over Plymouth’s historic Hoe – All weathers! I’m self-employed where most of my work comes from property management in the student market of Plymouth. I  still do quite a bit of work in the IT and web fields (building websites and doing IT work for businessmen involved in property) as well.

But my, how things change! As I write I’m sat in a a nice office in the centre of Plymouth which I share with the landlord. About 15 months ago I was an employee working more hours than I was paid for and if I’m honest, not much in the way of prospects. Then, along with a few others I was made redundant.

Sad times! Not really. I had a deep conviction that everything was going to be alright. I can’t explain why I felt that way. After all, when I was given the news I had no job to go to, no work as a self employed person to go to and no savings to rely upon to get me through. I also had no transport to get myself out and about but I just knew it was going to be okay.  Perhaps this is what ‘belief’ really is? I’ve read a lot of ‘positive thinking’ (I prefer ‘future thinking‘) books in my time and much of what is said in them comes down to that one word: belief. Without a conviction that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’, how can we even take one step towards our goals?

So anyway, I had this conviction and I guess it is this that enabled me to move on. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew it was for better things and a better life. So I went from being an IT & Web Analyst to a Property Manager! I won’t bore you with the details (message me on Facebook if you REALLY want to know!) but now things are very different. I’m happier than I have ever been. I have more freedom than I ever had. All because of that inner conviction that cannot be explained, only felt.

You’ve probably seen successful people on TV or perhaps you know one or two. I bet there is something about them that makes you ask:

“How on earth are they successful? They can’t even … <fill in your own thoughts here>!”.

Well, maybe it is belief that is the difference? They may not even know it but they all have this conviction inside. No self doubts about their goals or future exist for them.

That’s not to say there are no self doubts ‘at all’. There are. Every day they are faced with issues that challenge their belief but they carry on knowing that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’.

Why not try it yourself? Perhaps you can force or trick yourself into believing. Believing that things are going to be okay.

Just have a little faith that the Universe is a thing of growth. It is not a thing of decay. Start believing that despite what we hear in the media (and ‘expert’ friends!) that you have an opportunity to grow wherever you are right now. Stop believing that things are getting worse but in fact they are getting better! It seems to be working for me.

I’d be happy to chat about this topic if anyone wants to. I’m not claiming to be an expert but just a lot of thoughts and observations! Speak to you soon.

Why do good things keep happening to me!!!!

Why do good things keep happening to me?

Not a question people usually submit to their friends down the pub or over lunch with work mates is it? No, more likely we hear statements like “Why does all this bad stuff happen to me?!!”. This often follows a diatribe of troubles and things ‘happening to’ the person.

I got to thinking (actually for a while now) that what if what we say affects what happens to us in a negative (or positive) way more than we might think? At the very least I’m sure our friends eventually get a little bored with our constant bitter whining about how our life is bad and that all bad things seems to be happening to us.

So for that reason alone (having happy friend relationships) it is probably a good thing to change what we say. Maybe you do have more than your fair share of ‘bad luck’ but if we could possibly contain ourselves from telling everyone for just a moment, perhaps our lives would actually be better than they seem?

There is a thought that what we say also affects our lives in more profound ways as well. I asked myself:

“What if I started talking to myself and others about the good things that are happening, the good things that I have, rather than the bad things? Would that actually have a positive influence on the outcome of my life?”

There is a school of thought that suggests that the way we think and talk definitely affects our lives whether that be success in business, work, home life and so on. Part of this thinking says that if we were to go about our lives with a sense of gratitude for what we have and for what we are going to have, then this brings towards us those good things we want! This is Future Thinking at work!

Adversely, if we continue to bemoan our losses then this brings towards us more of the same!

At the very least, having a future thinking approach can help us not to see the bad stuff so much.  To often we make ‘mountains out of molehills’ of the negative occurrences we have.  Why not try and ignore them a little and say to yourself:

“Why do good things keep happening to me!!!”

Done in a humourous  way, this can put a smile on your face and really annoy the people that annoy you! (I didn’t mean that – honest!)

 

Future Thinking – What is it?

Future Thinking is a phrase I coined years ago. I came up with the phrase when I simply got fed up with people talking ‘positive’. I wanted something more meaningful than positive. ‘Being positive’ is often seen as a lame, limp and shallow phrase. I think this is because people who are positive in the ‘being positive’ sense of the word are often short term optimists, they are often positive for no apparent reason. They just come across as optimistic; positive without cause.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m what a lot of people call a positive person and I always try and look at the positive side to a given situation or problem. However, for me, ‘being positive‘ is something that happens ‘in the moment’ and not something that lasts. It’s not something that decisions affecting our futures are made of.

So, Future Thinking sprang from a desire to be more than just positive. I wanted to have a way of describing life choices with future consequences in mind and not just life choices that affect the moment. For me this meant that while I was ‘thinking’ about the future consequences of my actions, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was positive 100% all of the time. Sometimes looking at the negative aspect can provide you with insightful information to help make your ‘future thinking’ decisions!

How does Future Thinking work in practise? I use the following methods:

Look six months back

It probably seems a little weird to talk about Future Thinking by first talking about the past. However, there is a very good reason for this. I like to analyse decisions I’ve made by first looking to see if the desired affect has actually happened. In other words, I look six months into the past, remind myself of where I was (relating to a certain situation i.e. job) and see where I am now, also relating to the certain situation.

If things have improved to my liking, then I tell myself that the decision I made six months ago was a good one and that perhaps I should carry on doing what I’m doing for the next six months too!

Look six months forward

So, I know where I’ve come from. Now I ask myself where I would like to be in six months for a given situation (again, could be a job or something else) and I make decisions based on this thinking.  Now, you could say, I’m ‘Future Thinking’ at this stage and you would be right. The thing about Future Thinking and the difference between just being positive is that you can apply this ‘look six months’ forward style of thinking at any time and for, well, anything!

Have you just heard you are being made redundant? Have you just lost in tendering for a big contract? Looking six months forward takes you out of the moment and the necessity to be ‘positive’ and into something altogether different – Future Thinking.

There’s Power In What We Say

Real Power

There is real power in what we say.  What we say, has an astonishing and sometimes sad affect on our and others’ lives.  By the way, when I talk about the power of what we say, this also includes what we say in writing (such as in text messages, emails, comments and messages on social networking sites etc.). Here’s a couple of examples:

A Sad Example

Young people are more susceptible to the power of words than adults.  So susceptible that from time to time you hear of young people killing themselves through the stress of bullying.  Sometimes this bullying is just verbal and not physical!  You’ve heard it yourself in the news where young people commit suicide and you wonder why.  Then you read the article and find that the youngster had received abusive or threatening messages by text or through some sort of online social networking site.

There was one young girl recently who killed herself by jumping under a train.  I’m not going to relate the full story here, you can go to Google and find many such stories and all of them have the same underlying theme.

  1. There was a certain amount of torment from others in their lives – The Power In What We Say
  2. The decision to take their lives was ‘uncharacteristic’ – The young person’s emotions were affected enough to take drastic action

Changing Just A Little

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but it is worth mentioning again: Change the words around in what you were about to say about yourself (or someone else) and the difference is amazing! You can easily turn a soul destroying, negative and hopeless comment into one that has possibilities, that can inspire someone (you?) to build up and inspire hope for the future.

As you know, much of what I write is about ‘Future Thinking‘.  Future Thinking is about thinking positive yes, but it goes further than that. I would also say that Future Thinking is a more realistic approach, a more practical (future thinking) approach to yours and others’ future.  Future Thinking asks you to be positive if you can, but also asks you to think about the affect on the future (of a given situation) in your actions and words.

So, back to changing the words you say and write to say something completely different with Future Thinking in mind.

This YouTube video illustrates not just the Power of Words but in the way we phrase them. It’s just over a minute long so watch it now:

Changing Our Lives Through The Power Of Words

Start considering what you say to yourself as well as to others. When you talk to yourself, you can hear it! It doesn’t have to be out loud for your subconscious to take on board what you are saying!  When you change what you are saying, it would be better to say it out loud as I believe there is more power in what you say than in what you say ‘in your head’.

I bet you’ve heard this sort of conversation loads of times:

Person 1 – “I’ll never get a second interview for that job”

Person 2 – “How come?”

Person 1 – “I reckon I’m too young” (or old, or something else)

Person 2 – “You’re probably right”

Well person 2 is probably right! If person 1 thinks and says that, then they probably are right!  If person 1 does get an interview, she/he will be surprised and will quite possibly the wrong mindset when going in to the interview.  One of (“What am I doing here, they will never choose me” etc..)

Why not think first and then say something like:

Person 1 “Hmm I wonder if I’ll get a second interview for that job?”

Person 2 “You have the skills”

Person 1 “Yeah, I’m young and full of energy” (or: “I’m experienced and have great composure”)

Person 2 “Then if the company want someone like you, you have a great chance”

Person 1 “Yeah, I do don’t I!”

Of course, the situation hasn’t changed (yet) but what if person 1 was asked back for another interview? Then person 1 is likely thinking “Ah they DO want someone young like me!”.  Immediately, they will have a positive attitude when going for that second interview and will no doubt be thinking how they can influence the interviewer to consider them for the job!  Consequently the situation is more likely to end up favourable than if they had in their minds that they were too young (or old)!

Person 2 in the above example also changed what they were saying.  If person 1 does get a second interview, then person 1 will have a much better attitude at the second interview and may even get the job because of it!

Here’s a challenge

Change what you say and think with Future Thinking in mind and see how you feel in a week or a months time.  Future Thinking like this will allow us to think realistically but positively too. It can seem hard though I understand that.  It seems that all to often our natural inclination is to be negative and you will find yourself catching what you say.  This is ok, If you notice what you say is wrong, then you are on the right track to permanently changing what you say with amazing results.

Tips

  1. Pause before speaking – Consider other things to say!
  2. Speak slower – give your mind a chance to catch up!
  3. Check out “Look 6 months back and 6 months forward [Future Thinking]” for a bigger picture of how you can think in this way
Thanks for reading and by all means contact me to ask a question or to contribute your own ideas.  Please ‘Like’ the Future Thinking Facebook Page also.
Take care,
Jonathan

Life Traumas – How to deal with them [SELF IMPROVEMENT]

This is a sensitive subject so please forgive me if I stir up emotions inside you that you perhaps would rather didn’t surface.  That said, some of the stuff I’ve learnt along life’s journey could be of help to someone out there.  I’m writing directly to that someone, maybe you!

What do I mean by Trauma?

  • Any event in ones life that turns it upside down
  • When life throws the curve ball (for my American friends)
  • When your emotions are shot to pieces by an emotional setback
  • When the straw that breaks the camels back just knocks you flat

As you read this article, I expect that you will think of things that have caused some form of trauma in your life. While I will mention a few now, never forget that your experiences are personal to you and yet millions of other human beings (billions in fact), have suffered and will suffer just like you have or are suffering.  So, I don’t want to detract from the immense hurt or struggle your particular traumas throw your way, but I do want to help you realise that you are not alone!

Trauma, Wikipedia says is:

  • Trauma (medicine), an often serious and body-altering physical injury, such as the removal of a limb
  • Psychological trauma, an emotional or psychological injury, usually resulting from an extremely stressful or life-threatening situation

Let’s allow the doctors and nurses to deal with the medical trauma and look at psychological trauma shall we?  With regard to psychological trauma, I don’t believe that they need to be life threatening – they just feel like it!

As I said earlier, I’d rather not stir up old wounds unnecessarily but I think I do need to mention some specific examples so you get the idea of how you can heal yourself, how you can deal with trauma in your life.

Examples

Death of someone (or more than one person) close to you

To date I have not suffered this in my life, but like everyone who has ever lived, I most likely will.  Even writing this has me struggling to come to terms with such a potential event.  I hope I will remember this article when it does happen.

Separation or divorce from someone (or persons)

This I have suffered.  I had been married for 17 years and was with my then girlfriend for the 5 before we got married. We finally separated about five years ago and divorced a while later.  Separation of this kind can be very traumatic.  Even if you felt like it was the best thing to do, this kind of event in your life can still have a detrimental effect on your emotions and self confidence. When my then wife and I decided to divorce I believed that it was the best thing to do, but when the Decree Absolute came through, it was still such an emotional shock to my system that I cried on the phone to my mum for twenty minutes!

Most of the advice I give in the paragraphs that follow are born of my experiences over the last 5 years or so.

This kind of separation does not have to be simply one of a relationship or marriage break-up.  It could be a very good friend who decides for whatever reason that he/she doesn’t want to be a friend of yours any more and I’m sure other scenarios too.  Sadly, as well as a marriage break up, I had to deal with friends deciding to push me away.  I didn’t understand at the time and of course this just added to the hurt.

Trauma – How To Deal With It

“If You Are Going Through Hell, Keep Going!”

I’m sure I’ve said this a few times before and I’m not going to apologise!  I’m going to keep saying it until you understand what this sentence means!  Simply put, does it feel like you are walking alone through a dark place? Then keep walking until you emerge from that ‘hell’ into a better life.  You probably don’t understand right now, but when you come through the hard times, you can be an immeasurably stronger person.

The Three Phases of Healing

I cannot claim to have thought of and initially understood the following three phases.  This is attributed to a friend of my family who I sought help from shortly after I was separated from my (then) wife).

  1. Trauma
  2. Separation
  3. Recovery

1. Trauma

In the case of separation such as in a long term relationship there can be an initial period of trauma.  This happens in the first few weeks of the separation where you are emotionally upside down, Topsy turvy, nothing makes sense and all you can think about is the hurt. Hour after hour, day after day, week after week.  You just cannot see how you can go on living with the situation as it is.  Nothing anyone says to you helps at all (or very very little).  I should imagine that where the trauma is caused by a death of someone you love, then the feelings I’ve described can be a lot lot worse.  I feel for you if you are experiencing this.

Time: 0-12 weeks+

Summary: I’m not an expert but for me the traumatic period probably lasted a few weeks.  It varies from one person to another.

2. Separation

This is a period of time when your soul, your heart is gradually coming to terms with the loss, the heartbreak.  It is a time of understanding that the event has happened and that there is nothing you can do about it.  It is a time of acceptance (see this article for more information).  For me, I kept thinking that I had moved on from phases 1 and 2 quite quickly but in reality I hadn’t.  As time went on, I kept on having to say to myself:

“Jonathan, you are nowhere near through this yet – stop fooling yourself!”

If there is one thing you should keep in mind when you are coming to terms with your trauma, it is that you shouldn’t expect things to proceed faster than your soul can cope with.  I know it is easy to want things to go faster and for a certain amount of desperation to creep in – but you mustn’t let these thoughts rule your world!

It’s difficult to say how much time this took for me as of course the phases merge together, but probably I can look back and say that it was probably at least 2 years before I had completely accepted what had gone before.

Time: 0-2 years+

Summary: Try and listen to your inner voice, the voice inside that says: “slow down, I need more time”.

3. Recovery

This is the bit we all want to get to and get through also!  Like any form of healing, it takes time.  When your body suffers some form of injury, it takes time for it to heal and recover.  Let it happen.  never stop learning, never stop attempting to be a better person, never stop thinking of how your experiences can help others. And never stop considering how your experiences can help you in the future.

I recovered (am recovering?) with the help of friends and being around future thinking people.  In fact, friends are something I haven’t mentioned thus far.  For me all it took was one friend to continue to believe in me, to not push me away because I was depressed.  This one person perhaps understood because she had gone through similar things and just knew that all I needed at the time was a non judgemental friend.

Not a lot needed to be said, but it kept me going.  I was lucky I guess to have a friend like this and I know some of you don’t.  When I first separated from my wife, I was having business problems and business relationships were strained to breaking point and I felt I was left with nothing. Nothing or no-one to fall back on.  Thankfully, this one friend was there. I hope you have one friend like this in your life too.

Time: 5 years+ (How long is a piece of string?)

Summary: Find a friend who will listen without judging you. If not a friend, then how about ‘man’s best friend’? or music or a hobby?

Finally

I’m going to reiterate that while your personal circumstances, your own personal trauma is ‘yours’, others have been there before and have come through.  Have come through as stronger, happier people.  Of course, there will always be a hole in your heart where a loved one is missing for instance. Instead of papering over the hole, you can understand and accept that the event happened and that it won’t hold you back.

Take care :-)

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