How well do you deal with disappointment?

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I recently received some disappointing news. I will resist the urge to say the news was devastating- it was not, just inconvenient and it brought a costly implication. Nothing we could not handle as a family!

Disappointment is a fact of life. It will come in many forms whether we like it or not.  It is therefore our responsibility to build up a resilience to disappointment.  It is our responsibility to ensure disappointment does not ruin our day, week or month. Easier said than done I know, especially if it impacts on your family members.

I do not recommend that you plan for disappointment but that you operate with an element of flexibility.  Life is never black and white – there are always shades of grey.  However much we plan, life throws the odd challenge here and there. We must endeavour to throw them back.

As a child and teenager I handled disappointment badly and also found it difficult to cope in particular circumstances.  I recall receiving earrings for my birthday, I must have been 13 or 14 years old. One of the earrings broke as I was clearly too forceful when attempting to put them on. I sat and sobbed for hours. My mum tried to console me but I would not allow her to. I felt terribly sorry for myself and wanted to wallow in self pity.  I knew then I struggled emotionally but had no idea how to work my way through it so my dramatic reactions to disappointment continued into my twenties.

We have such different characters and thresholds for disappointment. Someone I know of booked a break for her and family. Her child fell ill near the travel date (not seriously ill) and they were unable to attend. They were not reimbursed so lost all payments. She was easily able to shrug it off and move on and I admire her for this. 

It is important we understand how we absorb information and news – good or bad. There are mechanisms one can use to reduce anxiety around facing disappointment. Whilst none are guaranteed to bring an immediate turnaround, they can serve as a starting point to you taking control.

1. Stop whatever you are doing and breathe easy.  If at work, walk away from your desk. If at home go to a quiet room to gather your thoughts.

2. Do not make any rash decisions. At times one may wish to quickly ‘find a solution’ in order to ‘make it all better’. This could bring further calamity.

3. Try not to blame yourself when life does not go as planned. Not every challenge we face is a product of our wrong doing.

4. Stop aiming for perfection – it does not exist and it is a tiring process living to prove your worth via work, family, hobbies etc.

I hope my mechanisms for facing disappointment have been helpful. Perhaps you can share your personal experience.

How do you deal with disappointment?
Have you improved on this over the years?

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Are you a ‘night owl’ or an ‘early to bed’?

I find it interesting that some people need at least eight hours sleep whilst others can cope on four or five. We really do need to rest as our brains and bodies are working overtime during the day.

Wolson Mizener quoted;

“The average sleep required by a person is five minutes more.”

On waking in the morning, I am sure the majority of people would pay to have an extra 30 minutes sleep – I know I would!

I once read the late Margaret Thatcher (UK Prime Minister 1979 to 1990) slept for only four hours a night. I do wonder how she managed to function in such an elitist role on little sleep. Perhaps her body grew used to the number of hours she allowed it to rest. There are only so many hours in the day that one can actually be productive. After a while one will burn out.

I am a night owl but at the same time enjoy going to sleep. My bed is like a haven, when asleep the many thoughts and concerns that come on my mind during the day are no more at night. Around 10.30/11pm, I get a surge of energy which is odd as when commuting home (two hour journey) I can barely keep my eyes open. I have been known to type text messages whilst tired, accidentally erase them and retype them again!

My husband is an early to bed and early to rise  person. Come 10pm, he is nodding off. Occasionally I select a film on Netflix for us to watch and I can guarantee he will drift off and I wind up watching the film alone. Even popular TV shows that I plan to watch with him, I now go ahead and watch them back to back as I just know he will lose concentration if it is late in the evening.

My children will fight their sleep right until the end. They do not want to miss out on anything. Believe me – nothing exciting happens in our home on a weekday evening. My daughter reads and spends a little time on her Kindle before drifting off – before this she needs to use the bathroom, have a drink, discuss an event at school – whatever it takes to deter going to sleep. My son brings his transformer, fidget spinner and a few cars to bed and plays with them before drifting off.  I laugh at the sleeping positions I often find him in.

Are you a night owl or do you need your eight hours sleep every night?
How do your sleeping patterns affect your ability to function well during the day?
Have you changed your sleeping pattern in order to accommodate your lifestyle?

What are your quirks?

What are your quirks?

Come on, we all have them – you know the little something about us that makes us slightly different from the next person. Our quirks are who we are- we are allowed to be different and should avoid morphing into who we think people expect us to be.  There are parts of our character that we do not allow others to see for fear of coming across as an oddball. There are insecurities we have that can make us react in ways that appear odd to others.

Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny Kravitz and the beautiful Lisa Bonet) quoted;

“Hollywood is like a really sad version of high school where people get labelled as cool, not cool, jock, bombshell, quirky….. it’s like a caste system.  You’re either in on you’re out.”

I recently watched a TV show with Zoe Kravitz and she played a quirky role and I must say she was so good at it, I am absolutely  convinced she is quirky and cool when off screen.

I have a number of quirks and I accept them. As a teen I was labelled as odd by my peers and even a few friends or should I say “frenemies?” Perhaps they thought they were helping me out by telling me what I already knew I was like!

Just a few of my quirks;

1. If out and about I do not like bumping into acquaintances more than once. The first time you say hello and exchange pleasantries. What on earth do you say on seeing them for the second time whilst walking round a store? Throw me a lifeline please!

2. I do not like people invading my space and will deliberately leave a gap when standing in queues, on the bus or train. Boundaries people!

3.  I over think a lot and make huge assumptions. I think I know what a person is going to say, prepare for it and am completely off track. I really need to train my mind from working overtime.

4. I race up the stairs when home alone.  The child in me, I guess.

5.  I dance when in the kitchen as though I am on a stage.

6. When getting into the lift at work, I pray the door closes quickly so no-one joins me. I do not want to share that confined space!

7. When I want to tease my daughter, usually after she has been sulking I begin to dance and she really cannot stand it. I then go on to say I will attend her school disco and dance with her friends. She looks absolutely mortified!

So those are just a few of my quirks, the ones I am comfortable with sharing at present.

What quirks do you have?
Do you embrace them?
What do others say about you?

Embrace the introvert or extravert in you!

Within the last few years I have read more on the subject of introverts and extraverts.  Just where was this information when I attended secondary school back in the early 1990’s? Generally, introverts need quiet time to reflect whilst extraverts thrive on being in the company of others. Extraverts tend to be the life and soul of the party whilst introverts though they may be enjoying themselves, look forward to going home.

My friends are a mixture of both and I can appreciate the qualities these bring. What a boring world we would live in if we had similar characteristics. I find it interesting that whilst many of us gravitate towards being an introvert or extravert, we can still hold traits from the other group. It is important that we understand ourselves, our characteristics, what settings we like and which we draw back from.  Activities in which we flourish in and those we shy away from. The more we grow to know ourselves, the more we begin to accept ourselves.

As a child in the 1980’s, though I played with other children and was rather sociable, I was happiest reading a book or comic (Bunty, Mandy, Judy anyone?) I was at ease when reading and enjoyed slipping into my own world.  My cousin often jokes about my love for books. I guess it was my outlet.

As a young teen I was content having one or two friends at school. I was not outgoing or confident enough to “hang out” in a large group.  One of my friends in particular, yearned to make as many friends as possible and it was so bizarre to me.  She rarely spent time alone and would fill the majority of her time meeting up with people. I now understand she was an extravert so the total opposite to me.  I remember there were two bus stops near secondary school, one where the majority of pupils would congregate and one which was more isolated.  Guess which bus stop I walked to for the first few years of school?

Over two decades later, I know I am without a doubt an introvert.  I must have downtime every evening. No matter how late I return home from an occasion, I stay up alone for at least 30 minutes. I work hard to prevent my “inner introvert” from hindering me in my management role at work and leadership role in church ministry. Yes, it is an effort for me but likely to be an absolute doddle for a person who is a natural extravert.

The world requires introverts and extraverts.  One is not more important or superior than the other.  One would assume entrepreneurs, actors, actresses and musicians would gravitate towards being extraverts. Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Glenn Close are all introverts. If you think about your spouses, family and friends, I guarantee you can easily identify whether they are introverts or extraverts.  You should also love and appreciate them for the qualities they bring to your relationship/friendship.

Are you an introvert or an extravert?
How has this hindered or favoured you in life?

8 tips to minimise clutter in your home!

Look around your home, do you have the essentials plus a few other pretty household items or do you have countless items, some of which you do not even need?

Is your wardrobe carefully organised by garment/colour or is it bursting at the seams with clothes a) you have not worn in over a year, b) which still have the store tags on?

Does your hallway have a clear pathway leading to your front door or are there piles of shoes, coats and other items blocking the walkway?

Whilst not wanting to advocate living in a bare, souless home with no personal touches, de-cluttering can bring many benefits for the whole family.  The more items you own, the harder it is to keep your house tidy. Items create clutter, clutter creates dust and who really wants to spend the weekends tidying up? Nobody, as it is relentless, not to mention tedious.

Let me tell you, once children are thrown into the mix, you appear to accumulate toys, large and small. I can cope with the large toys, even electronic devices but the small toys that find their way under (your feet) the sofa and in nooks and crannies is a whole other story!

My daughter is such a creative child.  She designs theatre settings, clothes, anything you can think of using paper and other materials.  When she has completed her masterpieces, the lounge resembles an art class.  We now have a 'rule' that her work must remain in her room and (when I remember) we take photographs because she cannot keep them all.

Some tips to reduce clutter in your home;

1. As letters arrive, open them and either file or take action.

2. When you receive letters, invitations and information, take a photograph using your mobile phone and discard of the hard copy. 

3. Keep entrances to rooms clear, it makes rooms appear less chaotic and reduces the risk of accidents.

4. Unless your hallway is wide, try and keep it clear. Buy a shoe cupboard and keep coats upstairs in a wardrobe separate from your clothes.

5. Buy a toy box each for your children to store their small toys in. Ensure they are put away every evening. My son’s toy cars are kept in one place other than when he feels the need to bring a few to nursery…………….

6. Do not leave a room empty handed.

7. Give everything a home. Resist the urge of leaving items out just because you may use them later that day.

8. Sort through your clothes into piles of;
A. Keep
B. May keep
C. Dispose of

Be ruthless and truthful to yourself.  Only purchase what you absolutely love, not because an item is cheap or “will do for now”.

Do you live a clutter-free life?
If yes, what advice would you give to others?
If no, what is causing the hindrance?