Wednesday, 23 November 2011

"Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious." - Bill Meyer

If I ask myself a positive question my brain will automatically look for a positive answer.
All through every day of our lives we have thoughts. A lot of them we are not aware of and those thoughts are a lot more important to who you are and what your life is like than you would expect.

More than often these thoughts tend to be negative, telling us that we are not good enough to make it as a writer, or we are too fucked up to find a man that will love us. Those thoughts aren't very pleasant and friendly and you would probably never say any of those things to anybody else.

The traditional way of trying to change your way of thinking is to do affirmations, to try to convince yourself that “I can and will make it as a writer” or “I will find a man that loves me for who I am”. An affirmation is supposed to be repeated over and over again until you believe it to be true. The problem is that most people have a little voice in their heads telling them that “No you won’t”, or “No you’re not”.

In 1997 the writer Noah St John realised that affirmations didn't work for him, because that little voice in his head kept telling him it wasn't true, arguing whith whatever it was he was saying to himself. He was thinking about how the mind works, that if you ask a question it immediately tries to find the answer to that question. No matter what the question is. He realised that if you ask yourself a negative question, like most of us do all days long, your brain will come up with negative answers. Likewise, if you ask yourself a positive question, like most people don't do, your brain will come up with positive answers. Afformations were born then and there.

An afformation is a question you ask yourself to make you feel better about yourself! Instead of trying to convince yourself with affirmation you use what you already know within you. Instead of repeating “I can and will make it as a writer” you ask yourself “why am I making it as a writer?” and your brain will start to look for the answers and the reasons to why you are making it as a writer. If you ask yourself “why do I find a man that loves me for who I am” your brain is searching for the answers. Now, the answers in themselves are not the important aspect here but the positive state of our minds is, because your brain is only looking for positive answers and automatically you start to think positive thoughts about yourself.

When I have a day when I think I look like crap I ask myself “why am I so satisfied and pleased with the way I look?” and right away I see myself in a different light. Instead of noticing the fat on my stomach I see my dark blue eyes, instead of seeing how pale I look I realise that I am having a pretty good hair day today.

I sometimes fall into insecurity about myself and start to ask myself negative questions like; “how can he love me?” and when I do I turn it around with asking myself “why am I so loveable?” and instead of being served a bunch of “he doesn’t really love you” I answer myself with “because I am so caring”, “because I am worth it” and other positive statements like that.

This technique has made a great difference for me and in my life. Instead of beating myself up all the time I am now lifting myself up. I would never let anybody else talk to me the way I used to talk to myself, so why should I let myself do it? With this technique I can choose not to, only by asking the right questions?

What are you telling yourself? Are being good to yourself or evil? Would you let anybody else talk to you the way you yourself do?

Sit down and right a bunch of questions that can only be answer by positivity.
Why am I so rich? (The answer might not be about being rich in money, but you will definitely get plenty of answers to why you are rich.)
Why am I loosing weight so easily? Why am I a money magnet? Why does everybody look up to me? Why am I successful? Is time to your attitude towards yourself and your life?

It is not about finding the right answers, it is all about finding the right questions!



Saturday, 5 November 2011

"Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency." - Natalie Goldberg

Stress is an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately.
I realised yesterday that I am feeling stressed in my new job. It is not the job itself that is making me stressed though; I love what I'm doing and I think I am doing it very well. It is not even the fact that I am short of time to do all I need to do before deadline. No, it is the fact that my editor is stressed and because she is stressed she wants me to do stuff on a last minute warning, and that is making me stressed. I am a planning person, I don't like sudden changes (unless I come up with them), and I plan my time. Not every minute or even every hour of it, but to the point that I know that tomorrow I am spending my whole day doing research and writing, so that I might be able to get some time off the following day. Now, if my boss were to ask me to come to her office to work tomorrow that mean that I have to change all my plans, not only for tomorrow but for the day after and probably for the day after that as well.  That is what is making me stressed.

I understand that my editor is under a lot of pressure and stress at the moment, we are doing the first issue of a new magazine and she wants everything to be as good as it possibly can. What she doesn't seem to realise is that if I don't get the time I need, when I need it, to do what I need to do; then what I do will not be as good as it can be, and we both want and need it to be. This is both our future, it is not only now and this issue.  However, we are doing it in about half the time we will have in the future and it is the first time for us. I am sure it is only teething problems and once it is all in print and the first issue is out, we can all sit down and talk about what we like and don't like and what needs to be changed for the next issue. Baby steps for a grown up is sometimes hard.

Anyway, I might be feeling stressed but since I realise it I can do something about it. I am in charge of my life and what I don't like I can take control over and change. I will do my job as good as I possibly can, and that is all I can do, but I will do it without stress. Stress will only make it bad, and it will put bad feelings into what I write and that is not good. I’m taking my time and I am doing it my way.

My dream of being a writer has a lot to do with freedom, to work a lot on my own conditions, a writer is an artist and not an office worker. A writer needs the freedom to fly. Give us a deadline and we will do what is necessary to make it, but don't hold us down. We will either get a writer's block or leave you screaming behind us. Some guidelines and rules and how it is supposed to be written is fine, and sometimes good, but don't plan our time for us.

This is all new to me and I am realising more and more about it as I go along. Knowledge is good, knowledge will help me understand why I react and feel the way I feel and as long as I know that I can work with it instead of against it.

If you are stressed you need to learn how to prioritise what you need to do. I said no to meeting my editor today, I don't have time because I have a job to do. I am writing this blog post because it is relaxes me to write it and it puts me in the writing state of mind. I do what I need to do to be able to do what I need to do. Everything is not an emergency! Although feeling stressed is, so take care of that first, and after that you can get on with what else needs to be done.

What makes you stressed? Why does it make you stressed? What are you doing about it?

You can read about Natalie Goldberg here and here.