Feeling better 1

Feeling better

Consider giving yourself these gifts for a few weeks, and see how that makes you feel.

 Be kind to yourself. 

This can take many forms.  Basically it involves allowing yourself the latitude to make mistakes, or taking time out from your routine or responsibilities, or doing for yourself any of the many little things you find so easy to do for those you love.  Eric Berne spoke of this in terms of ’strokes’.  A stroke is a unit of attention, and can be positive or negative.  A positive stroke is an expression of approval, such as a smile, a kind word, or a loving touch, while a negative stroke is the opposite – an expression of disapproval – an angry frown, a sharp word, or physical violence.  Everyone needs strokes of one kind or another, and negative strokes are better than no strokes at all. Often as adults, our task is to stroke others, and we use so much energy doing this that we pay no attention to our own needs.  We need strokes as much as anyone else does.  There are two ways we can get the strokes we need – by giving them to ourselves and by getting them from others.

 Stroking Ourselves:

This simply means allowing ourselves the things we like in life, giving ourselves the treats that make us feel special, wearing the clothes that make us feel good, and generally allowing ourselves the time and space we deserve.

Getting Strokes from Others:

 This depends very much on effective communication.  We often assume that people can read our minds, and know what we want and what we like without being told.  Getting strokes from others depends on how good we are at letting them know what we want.


Self Esteem

There is one quality above all others that determines how individuals respond to the circumstances in their lives, and that quality is self-esteem.  Self esteem is how a person feels about him – or herself – whether they think they are OK as people, and the extent to which they feel they deserve the good things in life.  Dorothy Corkille-Briggs (1975) describes self-esteem very accurately:

 “High self-esteem is not a noisy conceit. It is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self worth.  When you have it deep inside, you’re glad you’re you. Conceit is but a whitewash to cover low self-esteem.  With high self-esteem, you don’t waste time and energy in impressing others.  You already know you have value … feelings of self worth from the core of (the) personality can determine the use (made) of…. aptitudes and abilities.  In fact, self-esteem is the mainspring that marks every (person) for success or failure as a human being”.

It is extremely difficult to function effectively with a low level of personal worth or esteem.  It affects how we see ourselves in relation to others, and therefore how we operate as a husband or wife, employer or employee, parent, friend, or in any other role we fulfil on a daily basis.  Our basic self-esteem is usually established in childhood, and often remains that way, simply because we tend to place ourselves in situations that reinforce the way we see ourselves.  Changing our level of self-esteem requires that we take certain actions that may be different to the way we normally behave.


There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

Wise words from A E Houseman, “A Shropshire Lad”: cherry

We have just come back from a trip to the South West of France.  Stopping at a picnic area I was delighted to see daisies SO thickly carpeted, more than I have ever seen.  A little French girl going to the next table said “It is like snow”.  Her comment reminded me of this:-

 Houseman cleverly marks not only the Springs, but our passage of time through them …

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
A.E.Houseman “A Shropshire Lad”
 There are many things that will aid and inspire you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

An example of the ‘jail’ a person can feel in by having a ‘good’ label!

Here is an example of the negative effects of being labelled by a so-called ‘good’ label.

good girl

Another example from our Peace of Mind workshops was of a “good girl”.  The parent using the label had intended to reinforce the good behaviour of the youngster, but the woman relating the story to us was almost tearful, realising that she had almost put herself in a kind of “jail” – hadn’t done normal teenage things because “good girls” didn’t do things like that!  

curse of good girl

Whether we use labels to criticise or to praise, it implies judgement more of the individual than of their actions.  The alternative strategy would once more be to focus on the behaviour:

I think the way you knuckle down to your homework every day is wonderful, instead of “You’re a good boy / girl”.


You managed to balance your bike on one wheel all the way up the road without falling once!  Instead of “You’re so clever!”   

Again, this way of constructing sentences separates the do-er from the deed as was mentioned in Labels as expression of our own feelings a few entries ago.

 There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”, including material and exercises on LABELLING.  Download chapter 1 free now!

Labels as Judgement

There’s something to be said about the use of labels as judgement It seems logical that “negative” labels are “bad” and “positive” labels are ‘good’.  In reality this is not the case, for the simple reason that generally, labels refer to individuals.  Therefore, when we say someone is ‘good’, or ‘clever’ or ‘pretty’, it is as much a judgement based on arbitrary external criteria as a ‘negative’ label.  As you’ve seen in thoughts from this blog already, ‘negative’ labels originate from the feelings of the speaker.  Similarly ‘positive’ labels come from external systems of evaluation such as general attitudes of society – good children are quiet and respectful to adults, or from the projected needs of the speaker. 

label i

The Sunday Express at  talks about her childhood with many negative labels.  Poor Victoria!

The future monarch, probably under the command of her German governess, Baroness Lehzen, reveals among the many “goods” and “very goods” in the week of November 3, 1831 that she had also been “very thoughtless and foolish” and “impertinent”.  This is judgement indeed, and from herself!

The following year, on Monday, September 25, at the age of 13, she describes herself as “very very very very horribly naughty!!!!!” although there is no hint as to what Victoria might have done.

Details of her progress were kept throughout her childhood, which was spent under what was known as the “Kensington System”.

  There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!


Discovering about needs that lie behind all behaviour – you as a child!

This posting is about discovering the needs that lie behind all behaviour – firstly, for you as a child!

WHOSE NEEDS were these, when you were a child?

See if you can think about this during your day for 15 minutes or so


  • Remember something that you used to do that your parents didn’t like or something they used to do that you didn’t like.


Write down the example taking care to describe in simple words what was actually going on rather than use labels.


  • Think to yourself … What do you think you (or your parent) was trying to do by behaving that way?
  • What was it about the behaviour that led you (or your parent) to get upset about?

With regard to needs that do drive behaviour.  It is SO EASY to take the actions of the other personally!

needs 4

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

Labels as self-fulfilling prophecy

It is so easy for a label to become a self-fulfilling prophecy…

label a

Probably the single most negative effect of using labels is that when someone hears something often enough, they begin to believe what they hear: it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is particularly true if the person is a child. At certain stages of our lives, external messages have infinitely more power than internal ones, and labels can exert great power over our behaviour. We therefore become what our accusers say we are.

label c

Did you have a label? Do you still display the characteristic that your original labeller gave you?

label b

Working within the context of Peace of Mind seminars it is both astonishing and sad how often childhood labels live on in our adult lives. In one group someone had been “clumsy”, and another still thought of herself as “Fat Pat”. It is easy to imagine how these labels must have hurt the young people concerned, as well as the adults testifying to the long reach of the label. The fact was that the adults often still carried the effect of the label… I keep telling you about my grand-daughter Emma, almost 3.  She was doing something the other day, I don’t remember how it came about – maybe I was saying she was beautiful. “I’m naughty” she said.

“You’re not naughty” I said

“I’M NAUGHTY” she argued

“Darling, you’re EMMA who sometimes does things other people don’t like!” I said to her.

It really gave me pause for thought about how these early labels really do stick … There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

About death: “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

My much-loved uncle died the night before last. He was old and ill, but I shall miss him very much. His passing marks the end of an era!

I am posting, for today, something I find helpful at times like this …

From “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.  And he said:

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt in the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran

 There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

Labels as expression of our own feelings

Labels as expression of our own feelings … When someone does something that annoys or upsets us, we usually react by using a label or even many labels. Clumsy, stupid, lazy, rude, arrogant – often these ‘negative’ labels express the way the behaviour of another person makes us feel. By using a label, we are able to distance ourselves from our feeling by dumping responsibility onto the other person.

label 2

  Instead of, “You stupid, clumsy child!” when our child spills fruit juice on the carpet, we could acknowledge and express the way their action makes us feel, along the lines of, “I feel really annoyed when that happens, because juice stains, and besides I’ve told you a hundred times to finish your drink in the kitchen!” If we do this we focus on the behaviour and not on the individual, in other words, we separate the do-er from the deed.

label 1