TSHP181: How to Beat the Winter Blues

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300x250_1Winter is supposed to be a special time, particularly in the build up to Christmas, but the reality of cold, long nights, financial pressure and potential loneliness can present real challenges. So how can we thrive in the winter months?

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Surviving The Winter

Well, Winter is upon us once again. It seems to have been a long time coming this year as the warm/mild weather has stretched out into November. But suddenly with ferocity the sky seems to have opened and we are in the grip of floods. With global warming we were promised warm dry summers and cool wet winters and that is exactly what we have.

One of our listeners Jillie messaged in and asked us to do a podcast on surviving the winter. Thanks Jillie. Here are a few ideas.

There is a stark contrast between the world in the warmth of the summer and the cold of the winter. This is not just a matter of energy it is also a matter of weather. One of the main things that effects the way that we feel is the ionisation of the air around us. Each atom has an electrical charge on it. When the charge is negative then we feel bright and light and energised. When the charge is positive we feel flat, oppressed and out of steam. In the winter the air is often filled with positive irons that can make us feel negative. It is those days that are grey and over cast with the damp chill that reaches into your bones the air is filled with positive ions. When you are on a side of a mountain with clear blue sky’s watching the sun glint on the snow the air is filled with negative ions.

It seems mad and back to front but…

Positive ions make you feel bad
Negative ions make you feel good

The other effects of the lack of light are the inevitable drop in our level of Vitamin D, a drop in our level of serotonin that, normally, leads to feelings of down-ness often described as SAD syndrome. Sometimes I wonder why we bothered to move away from the equator where levels of vitamin D are high and SAD syndrome never heard of.

When it gets cold, damp and dark we seek comfort that through evolution has been carbohydrates. The best form of carbs is in cake, bread, pastas, puddings, biscuits, and so on. Carbs kick your brain into producing endorphins that make you feel good which is why they are called comfort foods.

Carbs = comfort

Take a holiday
Why do we take our main holiday in the summer? Would it not make more sense to enjoy the British summer, even if it is a bit wet, and then, when it is dark and cold, jump onto a plane and go somewhere hot and sunny. If we did that we would boost our Vitamin D and keep our mood raised up.

Another way to counteract the effect of the darkness is to move more. When it is cold the idea of huddling around a coal fire and staying in. Yet, if we make the effort to move our body we raise our mood. Twenty minutes of a raised heartbeat will make your brain secrete happy hormones and endorphins that will make you feel happier. The drive from the health authorities is to get everyone walking for at least half an hour a day. If we all did this we reduce our levels of illness, improve our mental health, loose some weight and get happier. Of course it goes with needing to say that it would also save the health authorities money.

Time to get social
Don’t be a hermit get out and meet people or invite people in. Socialise, have parties, cook meals and enjoy the company of others. Being with others, sharing the feeling of belonging and sharing fun and laughter all increase our levels of happiness.

Christmas and Stuffmas
Winter means Christmas and for most of us this means money and spending. Creating debts and financial stress is serious contributor to seasonal depression. The second part of Christmas can be that there is so much to organise and that can be stressful if we do not share the load and the responsibility. Maybe, if everyone who comes to Christmas dinner each cooked a course the pressures would be less all round.

Make love
Did you know that when we have particularly dark and cold winter that birth rates can rise by up to 18%. We do know that good positive love making does raise the endorphins and increases happiness. It also helps us to keep warm on a cold night.

Slow down and enjoy
Most of nature takes a break in the winter. The birds fly south, all of the plants go to sleep and many animals go into hibernation. The one species that does not slow down that carries on in a mad dash is (us) human beings.

For us winter could be our chance to rest and relax. A time to gather around log fires and get Hyyge. A time to enjoy the joy of story telling, socialisation, and developing family relationships and friendships. A time to mend nets, repair the tools, learn to sew and knit and chat about life and sharing experiences, to teach and learn. A time to enjoy winter foods, puddings, custard and cake.

The more I think about it the more I see why the Nordic countries developed their various versions of Hyyge to live enjoy and survive their winters.

Ba happy and do what you need to ensure you enjoy winter and make it a winter wonderland.

Take care

Sean x

TSHP180: Can you be addicted to anxiety?

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300x250_1Can a person become addicted to their own anxiety? That’s the question one of our listeners has put to us…

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Anxiety Addiction Disorder (AAD)

This weeks podcast is at the request of a listener who reports ‘drowning in his partner’s anxiety’. He asked if his partner could be addicted to anxiety and if so is there a cure. The answer to the first question is ‘yes’ and to the second ‘maybe’. Like most things, anxiety is in the eye of the beholder. So you may experience my behaviour as anxious but I do not. For me it may be normal, business as usual. But yes, anxiety is sometimes seen as an addiction.

Anxiety Addiction disorder, or AAD, does not refer to the anxiety that would be caused by being addicted to a substance, such as cocaine or alcohol. In AAD anxiety is the addiction, the anxiety has become the equivalent of a drug. The sufferer of AAD has become an anxiety junkie and responds to the emotional problems in their life by turning to their addiction anxiety. In the case of AAD, the addiction is often played out as anxiety or panic. However, like all junkies the sufferer of AAD will avoid personal responsibility for their addiction by blaming others. “I only, drink, take this drugs, punch, people, or become generally offensive because these awful things happened to me when I was a child or because you did that to me, or, you looked at me the wrong way ….” and so on

I should start this by saying that generally anxiety is a good thing. It has kept us safe throughout evolution. The anxiety generated through the awareness of danger is a good thing. Anxiety disorder is a different beast. It allows us to create anxiety and panic responses to imagined, fantasised or even when we are in completely safe situations. When we become addicted to anxiety we can appear to be stupid because there is no logic or cognition to moderate the illogicality of our anxiety.

The stupidity of anxiety
I use the word stupid not in a demeaning way but to indicate the lack of cognitive thinking. Anxiety is an emotion and we know from neuropsychology that we are unable to both think and feel clearly at the same time. This means that when we are in the grip of panic or anxiety we lose all sense and logic. When in full emotion such as in anger, fear or love, we become stupid and cannot make a reasoned response. If you have ever tried to rationalise with a drunk you will be aware that you just can’t do it. The part of their brain that you could reason with has been switched off by the alcohol. The same is true of anxiety. It is impossible to have a reasoned conversation with an AAD sufferer when they are in full flow.

As with all addicts the anxiously addicted person does not see that their behaviour is illogical. They will see the rightness of becoming forever more upset and obsessed with the object of their anxiety. They will build the anxiety by ruminating on the issue that they have decided to be anxious, or panic, about. In the end it will grow to become overwhelming and may become debilitating.

The family issue
When working with the family of an addict we acknowledge that if someone in the family has an addiction such as alcohol then the whole family has an alcohol problem. The same is true whatever the addiction. So, if someone in the family has an anxiety problem then the whole family has an anxiety problem. In AA, alcoholic anonymous there is also ‘al-anon’ that fund groups dealing with the needs of the family of the alcoholic. The same is true in NA, narcotics anonymous. As yet we do not classify anxiety disorders in the same way as substance abuse disorders yet the problems in the family of someone suffering anxiety disorder may be just as great as with any other addiction.

Anxiety as an addiction is just a habit

The Mind-Brain Habit Machine
We are all the sum total of all the habits that we have developed and practised since the moment of our birth. It may seem strange to describe us as a collection of habits, but that is exactly what we are. The concept of “this is just the way that I am” is always faulty. The correct thinking is “this is the way I have learned to be”. The powerful word there is ‘learned’. Because the Mind-Brain is a ‘learning’ machine that, if I choose, I can use the same process to learn and become whatever I want to be. It is just creating a new habit.

You can become whatever you choose to be!

The clinical issues
Because the emotional responses that we make are often based in our brain chemistry, that is they are concerned with the hormones and endorphins that make up our mind/brain chemistry. The only exception to the ‘learned’ rule is when we use the word ‘Clinical’. When someone suffers clinical depression or clinical anxiety we are normally saying that their body system in incapable of, or has problems, producing the required chemistry to enable their system to run and respond normally. The most obvious case would be diabetes which occurs when the chemical, ‘insulin’ is deficient in the pancreas. Some diabetes is caused by diet and life style. This requires a change in thinking, life style and learning new habits to overcome the problem. Someone who is ‘clinically diabetic’ can not learn to be different they will need to take insulin for life. Some people who suffer ‘clinical anxiety’ will also probably need to take medication for the rest of their lives in some form or another. In both cases the issues can be moderated through lifestyle changes that may improve the condition though the underlying need for medication will never go away.

Anxiety and hormonal imbalance
At different times in life, or in the month, during menopause or menstruation there may be an imbalance of hormones that can create feelings of anxiety. This imbalance can be helped with various preparations and HRT. These hormonal imbalances are clinical and may not be resolved through learning though the practice of mindfulness will minimise the effects. Hormonal changes and imbalances are not limited to females, men also suffer life time hormonal changes.

The chemical addiction of being in a body
When we understand that we are all addicts we can begin to understand ourselves. The chemistry that is you, which is the balance of the hormones and endorphins that run your system, are unique to you. No one else has your hormones. No two people are chemically the same, not even identical twins. Life, experience and learning and, most importantly, our responses to events, create the internal chemistry that becomes our normal, for us, it is who we are.

You addiction is your chemical normal that makes you feel right

I am forever saying this:
“If when you are a child you observe your mother running around panicking about spiders you will build the structures in your brain, in your amygdala, that will then create the appropriate chemistry so that when you see a spider. You will then panic just like your mother did and in turn you may well pass this ability to panic about spiders onto your children”.

When you see someone with AAD you will often also see it in their parents and siblings. That is unless one of them has completed the psychotherapy that allows them to move beyond their disorder.

The anxiously addicted family
So back to the addiction of anxiety. Remember that if someone in the family has an anxiety disorder then the whole family has an anxiety disorder. What that means is the person’s addiction will effect all that happens in the entire family.

It will dictate what happens in the house, how things are ordered or in what sequence events take place. It will create planned behaviours, such as what happens when we leave the house and the rituals that need to be played out to ensure a safe and secure departure. It will effect everywhere we go and all that we do.

With any addict, their addiction always comes first

Like any addict the sufferer will always see their addiction as the most important thing in their life. Everyone and everyone else’s needs come second to the addiction. However, like any other addict, if for some reason they are denied their ‘hit’ of catastrophized emotional expression it will burst out later in a binge. Usually the family learn this and all the family members adapt their behaviour to cope with this. In all addictions it can be very easy for the family members to end up supporting the addiction rather than the person. It can be easier to supply an alcoholic with booze to keep them quiet and avoid the problems that come with their withdrawal. It can be easier to go with the flow of the AAD sufferer than confront the behaviour.

The problems of confrontation
In most cases it does not matter what you say, you will always be wrong. Your helpful words my be seen as patronising and your actions as inappropriate. Your attempts to get it right maybe seen as interfering and unless you agree with the AAD sufferer you will be experienced as not listening or as insensitive. In many cases the option is to keep your mouth shut, for most people, is difficult. Confrontation should really be communication. Often confrontation has the reverse effect (Coue’s Law of Revered Effort) and can make the addict dip further into their addiction, the alcoholic drinks more, the cocaine addict snorts more and the anxiety suffer becomes more anxious and so on.

The problem is that communication requires that two people can both hear each other and inevitably the addicted person is so embedded in the importance and validity of their own behaviour, which they now see their behaviour as normal The confronter is then seen as insensitive and horrible for not tolerating their addictive behaviour. In the warped perception of addiction the person with anxiety sees anything other than compliance with their needs as insensitive. Generally they have ceased to see any one else’s point of view other than their own.

Overcoming AAD in the family
In a world where an estimated 60% of people visiting the family doctor have anxiety as a primary or major cause of their symptoms we have an epidemic anxiety and a plethora of emotional medications on offer. I am not sure if this means that 60% of families have an anxiety disorder. Sadly, medication is seen as the number one defence against anxiety. The alternative to medication is mindfulness and/or psychotherapy. However, all addicts will only address their addiction when ‘they’ see it as a problem. In a world where anxiety is seen as an acceptable norm, that can just be tolerated by the family, or controlled with a little medication, we are probably committing future generations to ever higher levels of anxiety.

Like any addiction anxiety will only go away when the underlying causes of the habit are understood and dealt with. Like any other addiction habit it needs to be replaced with non addicted habits that serve us well. Or maybe we just need to get addicted to habits that are benign.

If you have anxiety that gets out of hand you need to first understand if it is clinical, reactive or a habit. Then you need to decide whether it is your choice to maintain it or overcome it.

Take care and be happy – it is the key to life.

Sean x

TSHP179: Hygge: The Art of Living Danishly

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What’s Coming This Episode?

300x250_1There’s a new way of living and it goes by the name of Hygge. It’s made it’s way to our shores from Denmark and everyone knows that those Scandinavians know how to live. Let’s find out more…

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Hygge: The Art of Living Danishly

My good friend Andrew very kindly gave me a very enlightening book simply called’ Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way.’ This sent me on a search to discover more about Hygge (pronounced “Heurgha” or “Hooga”). I found an action for happiness talk on documentray.com, a site well worth visiting, where I found Helen Russel talking about Hygge.

Hygge is a concept that goes beyond Denmark and also embraces the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway. Hygge is associated most with Denmark because the Danes repeatedly come out statistically as being the happiest people on the planet.

In her book ‘The.Year of Living Danishly Helen Russel describes Hygge as:

“the complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle soothing things”

When Rie saw Andrews gift she said, “Oh I was just about to buy that, it describes the way that we live”. I was getting the feeling that the universe was trying to tell me something. In my meditations I felt a good deal of gratitude for our lives and how lucky we are but also felt that sense of how we all have a choice to create our own lives and realised the to live Hygge does not require wealth it is all an attitude of mind.

So, what is Hygge?

Hygge is a noun and a verb. We can do Hygge, we can get Hygge, we can be Hygge, “hey, let’s get Hygge”, “shall we Hygge”, “I am going to Hygge”, “oh that’s really Hygge”, “the Orfords are such a Hygge family!”

However you use the word being or doing Hygge is a state of mind, emotion and action that, in the end, is very close to mindfulness.

1: Live in safety
A society that is safe allows for Hygge. We trust our neighbours and feel free to be out at night alone. We can leave our child sleeping in their pram outside the front door in the sun and fresh air without fear. We need not worry if the house door or the car is left unlocked or the windows open. We know that those around us will look out for us.

In the 1980s I moved to a small holding in the Welsh mountains. Down in the village everyone left their front doors unlocked so that Bobby the baker could put the bread in their bread bin, Daf the fish would put their mackerel in the fridge and Jones the milk could put the gold top alongside the fish and the neighbours could come in and help themselves to a cup of sugar if they ran out. They were living Hygge.

2: Society
Family is big in Hygge family is Hygge. The warm social sensual experience of groups and friends socialising and simple parties and gatherings are Hygge. It might be a group of mums meeting for a coffee after dropping the kids at school. It might be the gathering of a group of line dancers, or even the camaraderie of the gym.

We say that the family that eats together stays together. In Danish homes the dining table will seat eight before it is extended. The importance of eating and socialising is the foundation of society, it is the foundation of Hygge. A warm cup of coffee or mulled wine, a log fire and candles are hygge. More candles are sold per capita in Denmark than any other country.

In years gone by families gathered to celebrate christenings, engagements, weddings, birthdays and funerals and every other excuse to gather and celebrate that they are all family. This is Hygge. Our house is the gathering place for our extended family for birthdays, Christmas, New year, Easter, Mother’s day and we cook. Rie is right we do live Hygge.

3: Exercise it is good to move
In Denmark a walk or a bike ride is good. But, if you are going to do it why not invite friends, experiencing it as a group. We know that exercise is good for us. There is a drive to hit the ten thousand steps a day to keep fit and moderate weight. We also know that when you move your body your brain secretes endorphins that are the happy hormones. Movement and movement in harmony is Hygge.

There is a difference between the Hygge of movement and the extreme of exercise. Just as sitting too long can kill us, the body was never designed to stay still all day, over exercise can kill us as well. The man who forces himself to do a daily two hour gym work out everyday may well suffer a heart attack in his fifties. The nearest we can get to natural human living are the Amazonian Indians who rarely sit and never run, unless they need to catch something or escape something, in preference they jog. Jogging is Hygge, running is not.

I have been part of a group at one of the factories that I cover where we have collectively been walking the distance between the unit in Britain and the unit in Argentina to raise money for the charity SANDS. This has involved walking 15,000 steps a day. Sadly I am behind in my leg of the journey. But, Rie and I do try to maintain the 10,000 steps a day which has added the dimension of time together and we can talk. Now, that is Hygge.

4: Living in aesthetic harmony
The Danish are renown for their taste and design. Often this design is minimalist or when complicated it is with purpose. A chair is a raised platform that is there to support your bottom. It can either be elaborate or simple, it can be fashionable or ergonomic. Hygge is when the simplicity of design meets the ergonomic comfort or purpose. A chair in its simplicity is a statement of Hygge.

Danes do “cosy” like no other nation. Your average home will look like something out of an ideal home supplement: lots of natural materials like wood and leather, lamps artfully positioned to create soothing pools of light.
Helen Russell

Recently we stayed in a cottage in the hinterland of Wales. The cottage was off line as in no landline, no mobile signal, no television, water from a spring, heating from an oil tank, there was electricity. The main cottage was a renovated, in the original style, farm workers cottage. The extension was a concrete shell with acres of glass. One whole wall of glass opened completely to allow the inside out and the outside in. On the deck was a wooden barrel hot tub that allowed us to to drink champagne and stare at the stars. The cottage was Wales the extension was Hygge. the experience, in its simplicity, was Hygge.

The design of Hygge leaves you with a calm sense that may challenge you but will lead you, if you allow it, to a harmonious place.

5: Lessen the choice reduce the decisions, reduce the stress
We live in complex societies that require us to make decisions all the time. Choice is both liberating and disabling. If the choice is do you want brown bread or white bread the decision is simple. If we walk into the supermarket and are faced with fifty different loaves of bread the decision can become overwhelming. Hygge shops are simplistic. They offer the basic ingredients or good wholesome food, decisions are minimal and the time better served in creating Hygge.

We have a local farm that organically produces what it sells. When you go there what is on offer is what is in season at that time. The supermarket will offer you strawberries everyday of the year even if those that they sell in the winter taste of stale cider. Living with nature and in harmony of nature is Hygge.

Do you need a new car every three years? Interestingly Danish car engines are expected to last at least 500’000 miles. My engineering friends tell me that some American cars are engineered to last around 80’000. A good piece of equipment that lasts is Hygge. I have a jumper made for Guernsey wool that was designed for fishermen. I have owned it for over twenty years and looks the same as when I bought it. What’s more it feels good and is very warm. It is Hygge.

6: Have confidence in who and what you are
In Denmark you will see the national flag flying everywhere. This not in fascistic or xenophobic way it is Hygge. The concept of being proud to be Danish is part of the glue that holds the people together it is Hygge. That does not mean that other people are not welcome, in Hygge they are.

To be proud and confident about who and what we are is de-stressing. To worry about if we are good enough, good looking enough, clever enough, rich enough leads to continual comparison. Comparison of self to others and the subsequent striving to be good enough or to be the best is a heavy weight to carry.

One of the things that I love about Scandinavian countries is their equality of nudity. People are not hung up about whether their bodies are good enough, they are are just bodies so let’s be proud of what we have. To be naked on the beach, in the garden is no big deal. Because of this relaxed attitude to the body psycho-sexual issues are minimised and, in general, levels of sexual satisfaction are higher than in other countries.

I am struck by the difference between this open proud way of being and societies that demand that people, especially women, cover up to almost their entire body. In Hygge we can be free, open and proud of who and what we are in all walks of life.

One my favourite gripes, that comes up again and again on the podcast, is the issues of competition. Sport and competition as opposed to play requires winners and losers. This is a situation where the winners proud esteem is gained at the losers lack of esteem. In Hygge there are no losers or winners. Pride and esteem comes from taking part and enjoying.

7: Give your family value
This is a strange one for me because in truth I do not give my natal family value. I did not have a good childhood and left happily at the age of fifteen to get away from it, there was no Hygge. Yet my real family that is Rie the kids and the extended family have all the value that I could want or give, it is filled with Hygge.

In the Mitch Albom’s book ‘The Five People That You Meet in Heaven’ he describes strangers as ‘family that you have yet to get to know’. I really like that concept. In my life I have found so many people who have and are family. The magic that they all have is Hygge.

I work with many people who are supporting older family members who are ill but who abused them when they were children. When I ask the why?, they tell me that well “they are my Dad” or ‘Blood is thicker than water”. For me, leaving home when I did, blood was not thicker than water. I have decided to change that phrase to ‘ Hygge is thicker than water’. When your family has Hygge it doesn’t need to be given values because the value is already there.

8: Equal respect for equal work
A couple in Denmark are treated equally. They have 52 week maternity/paternity leave as statute to be shared between them. There is standard wage that is common to most and in that sense no one is poor. What this really means is that an hour of my time is worth an hour of your time. A man’s time is not worth more than a woman’s time. Because of this it is just as easy for a man to stay at home with the kids to be the house parent. This is Hygge.

When I an working in the National health service the domestic staff are often seen as having less status than the surgeon or the executives. Yet without the vital work that is carried out by the domestic staff the system would be racked with germs and disease. In reality you cannot have one without the other yet a consultant will earn ten times, or more, the pay of a domestic.
I am sure that professional in Denmark do earn more but there is a value that is given to all which leads to a richer and more equal society driven by Hygge.

9: Time to play
The working week in Denmark is shorter than in the rest of Europe. The working day finishes about 4pm and lunchtime on Friday. Shops close at lunchtime on Saturday and are closed all day Sunday, despite the lack of organised religion. Between Christmas and New Year everything closes and in the month of July businesses go on holiday for the entire month. This is Hygge.

In Hygge family, friends, society, play and enjoyment come before the issues of work. It is probably this that is the key to the high levels of happiness reported in Denmark.

When we are children the act of playing is natural. All you need to do it to put a bunch of kids in a room and they will begin to play. When we become adults we need to arrange play time in the squash court, or to go for a bike ride. What we lose with age is spontaneity. Hygge is the spontaneous ability to play and have fun.

10: The ability to share
Denmark has one of the highest levels of taxation per capita at 50% and then some. However, there is an understanding that to pay tax allows for a free health care system, free child support and free education through to completing university. When someone becomes unemployed they can claim 80% of the salary as social support for up to two years. In Hygge there is the collective understanding that to receive you also need to give. On that basis people seem to be happy to pay their taxes because they know what they will get back when the need it.

This goes along with my philosophy that if we all look after each then we are all ok. The key to this philosophy is that we all need to share and not hoard. The key to this philosophy is Hygge.

It seems to me that Hygge and Mindfulness are closely related. The most interesting thing is that the Scandinavian countries have come to this conclusion without resorting to religious interpretations. One thing that may play into modern day Hygge is that Viking societies were flat, there was no hierarchical status such as the divine right of kings that over took the rest of europe. Leaders in the Viking world were either elected or gained their position by their deeds. In the Viking world all were equal.

You would have guessed from the length of this that Hygge resonates with me and my beliefs and way of life.

A more hygge-focused culture could contribute not just to happier individuals and families but also to more caring communities and a happier society as a whole.”

I will now shut up.

Take care, be happy and be Hygge

Sean x


TSHP178: Why do we fall for the wrong person?

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What’s Coming This Episode?

300x250_1Many of us are fortunate to, at some stage of life, find Mr or Mrs Right. Most of us, however, will have endured a rollercoaster of relationships prior to that special one. Why are we so often attracted to the people that we know are no good for us though?

Enjoy the show, it’s The Self Help Podcast!

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Stay in Touch

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Why do we fall for the wrong person?

Welcome to this weeks blog. A listener simply asked the question, ‘why do we accept the love we think we deserve?’ When we talked around the subject Ed said ‘why do we fall for the wrong person?’ My response is that we don’t, the person that we fall for has something for us that may be positive or negative, they are there to teach us something, that may seem odd, let me explain.

John Bowlby developed ‘Attachment theory’ from the work that he did with newly born babies making the primary and secondary emotional attachments with their caregiver, normally their parents. As the child grows they are developing their understanding of the world by observing the people and the behaviours around them. We describe this as a paradigm. Your paradigm is the sum total of all that you have experienced since you were born. Within your paradigm are all your beliefs and ideas, it is the way that you see the world.

John Bowlby described this as your ‘Internal working models’. Below your awareness within your unconscious self you have a model for what a mother is, what a father is, what a partner is, and how you should act in a relationship. Then, below your awareness, you go out and match your internal working models to the people that you meet in the world.

If as a daughter you observed your father being aggressive or abusive to your mother you are likely to build an internal working model that tells you that this is what a partner should be like. The result of this is that you are likely to replicate what you observed when you were a child even if this is negative or damaging to you.

The strange things is that your Mind-brain is neutral. It is simply a habit forming mechanism that has no interest in whether the habits that you develop and play out are good or bad, positive or negative, whether they serve you well or badly.

We are what we learn. And the more that we repeat the habits that we have learned the more embedded they become until we say, ‘this is simply the way that I am’. This is never true. You are what you have learned to be and if you want to change you habits, beliefs, thoughts or feeling you can simply learn new ones. Our behaviour will either reinforce our negative self or our positive self. What we do is always feeding the paradigm.

Perception and learning go together. We can only perceive what we learn. New perception comes from new learning. We can only change through new learning. This new learning is reprogramming our paradigm.

The bottom line is if you do not like what you think, feel or do, or like the people around you or the life that you have created for yourself, then you can change it. That is what all our work at Live In The Present is all about and that is what the Ten Steps course is all about.

My resource of the week is any book by John Bowlby.

Attachment theory gives us great insight into our relationships, how and why we make them and what it is that we need to do to change them.

As a last thought, look at those people around, at your relationships. They may be intimate, familial, friendships or business. Whatever they are consider what these relationship mean to you, Ask yourself what do you get from each relationship. Consider what lesson each one of these relationships have come to teach you?
As my teacher said to me, “when you meet someone for the first time ask yourself the question, ‘what has this person come to teach me’?” With this awareness you will learn, grow and develop as much as you possibly can. You might consider what it is that your partner has come to teach you?

Take care and be happy

Sean x