Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Eliminating Self Pity

So I am one more step closer to seeing my dream of having my own novel published coming true. It's a very exciting moment in my life and one that I thought I would never see. I feel somewhat nervous and i woke up this morning with that funny tummy feeling but its gone now, disappearing through the red letter box that I sent off my corrected proofing for the publishers this morning. Its a really nice feeling to know that soon I will be checking the final proof!

I've not had much to say lately, actually thats a lie because everytime something has popped into my head and I think, that'd be good to blog about, I am in no way able to do it timewise. So today's blog is really just about tuning back in and sorting out the cobwebs in my brain because I have been mad at work on my proof reading and believe it or not I have thought about pretty much nothing else for about 5 days.

my family

Actually I am feeling pretty grateful and lucky today, I met a man last night who I have known for some years and he is dying of cancer. He came to my AA meeting last night and funnily enough the topic for the meeting was 'Eliminating Self Pity'. I shared about my own ability to wallow in self pity and I also shared about my difficult relationships with my kids, not that the kids themselves are difficult creatures, its me. As he shared is stuff, I thought to myself  about me and my poor-me-head "STFU, who are you to be so ungrateful?", you're alive and in good health compared to some and you have great kids and a loving mother and a full and busy life which is more than poor Derek (not his real name)  has, for he has less than a year to live. So this morning, as I happily trotted down to the post office to send my future off in that big brown jiffy bag, I remembered Derek from last night, grateful that he is dying sober, grateful that he got into recovery before he died, grateful that he has the fellowship to help see him through the worst thing that could happen to him and smiling and laughing with such fortitude and courage at what he is facing. Yes life is good today and don't I bloody well know it!

Monday, 11 June 2012

To Debate or not to Debate - that is the question. Is it good for our psychological well being?

Facebook is a Debating Society. The way it is set up makes it that way. Whatever your status, it is bound to get some sort of attention. Just of late there has been some ruffled feathers concerning historical debate. Debate is meant to be contentious, especially if it is in the public interest and whereas a subject about a historical topic may not be necessarily one of the most inportant issues in a modern society, it can provoke great argument amongst  both the professional and amateur historians. We are taught in college and uni that when you join a debating society, you are likely to hit upon some emotions that no one ever thought existed within themselves and others, but that although joining in a debate that contains emotive an subject may get argumentative and aggressive, it doesnt mean you get personal and nor do you take things personally because thats when the topic becomes void, when people begin responding to what they believe to be a slight or an insult.

Equally, when you put a 'contraversial' idea out there, such as an author's suggestion that one of our historical King's was actually the son of someone else, you cannot expect people to not question this and you must be prepared to respond. Both the questioner and the responder need to do so politely and without aggression because although its a debate, we're not at college or uni and these aren't our colleagues, fellow students or mates. These may not be people we've ever spoken to before. Debating on FB should not be the same as the rigorous debating groups we maybe used to in our academic places. What I often find disturbing is that friends and fans often come to the 'rescue' of the debated and I've seen some pretty nasty things said to people who are asking for sources or putting over a different perspective or argument. People need to remain calm and allow people their views without trashing them personally.

It often pays to play it cool. I'm a bit of a hothead myself and used to get fired up about stuff but really, people stop focusing on the subject and focussing on my behaviour then and that only helps them deflect the topic from the real issue which is not the desired outcome when trying to get an argument over. Plus I have often over-reacted to something and then felt really awful with an emotional hangover that makes me feel even worse. I have been learning that debating on FB means you are often taking the safety of your mental well-being into your hands . you have to have thick skin and broad shoulders not to be hurt by some of the really inflammatory things that are said. I am saying this because so many of my friends have been hurt bey things getting personal and resentment is an evil powerful tool with which to batter ourselves with. I know I have to stay away from anger as it is not an emotion that serves me well as my past history will tell me.

People need to react more calmly to people's views, don't give in to that little voice inside your head that wants tor bite back otherwise the whole debate is lost and noone is the winner, certainly not the person/subect, you are trying to defend or defame which ever it be.

Recently I posted a piece about Anger and shared this very wise line: "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die", it isnt going to happen cos very often they're calmly and happily asleep at night in their beds while you toss and turn and play your next argument or what you should have said over and over in your head. Debate, but don't get personal.