Friendship, Love and Giving

Since my last post the matter of friendship has been politely interrupting my sleep and as usual I have allowed my brain to process the elements before sharing my findings on here, with the sole intention of hopefully helping others understand, and ultimately come to terms with non-reciprocated giving.

In order to be happy, fulfilled, at peace with your relationships and to enjoy inner calm you need to deal with matters that eat you up inside, fester away and grow into a toxic unhappiness that affects your wellbeing, your relationships, your bitterness, and the way you go about your life.  To achieve mental wellbeing, forgiveness, understanding and loving without becoming dependent on that love are crucial.

It is not other people that hurt us, it is our own expectations and desired outcome.

There are several affirmations that people are not ignoring you – they are busy and that you should get busy too, and whilst they mean well, and come from a place of some truth, it was one of the most offensive ways of trying to help people who are feeling ignored, lonely, and that their friends and family are failing them.  There is a truth to people being busy, but I would prefer to use the term ‘distracted’, as most of the time the people who genuinely care about you, think of you often, and would love to be in your company will never contact you, or will very rarely contact you. Yes, you would like to be higher on their list of priorities, particularly with so much sharing on social media it is very easy to see that other people appear to be high on their ‘to do’ list where you may not be.

But what you really need to ask yourself is why? Why do you need to be contacted by them to believe they love you? Why do you think – don’t bother coming to my funeral you never visited me when I was alive?  Is it true that maybe you are not so ‘distracted’ and so you have time to feed yourself internal toxic thoughts that you are being ignored? Often being isolated and lonely, bored and frustrated will fuel these feelings and thoughts.  If you are very busy with work, kids, hobbies, dealing with your own dramas whilst occasionally posting a ‘my life is perfect’ pic on social media, the chances are that six months has flown for you but for somebody in your close network those six months have been painful, and they are hurting that you have not checked in on them – but this where they must check in on you, and ‘forgive’ your distraction, and butt in and let you know that they are still in the frame.

Of course I have experienced this from both sides.  I only write about things I have first hand experience of and so I share my findings in the hope that somebody somewhere will benefit in someway.  As a single mum I sat at home night after night, year after year, festering, wishing that somebody would offer to come over one evening but then as time went by I realised that people literally do need telling, they are genuinely oblivious to your internal loneliness / desire to feel loved and cared for, as a friend.  And in reality for me personally I had been the distracted one for a decade prior. I would be so happy to see people I cared for, either out socially, or at family funerals, or passing in the street, I was so happy to see them, but I would never call in for coffee or pick up the phone, I just assumed that everybody was busy, or should I say ‘distracted’ with their own life.

My power came when I became self dependent.  I learned about self-love, I would wrap a blanket around me if I was poorly and buy myself a bunch of flowers if I wanted to feel loved, and I would stop worrying about sending random people messages and saying ‘hi, how are you?  You can be miserable and you may not want to say ‘talk to me I’m lonely’ but you can always say ‘hi, how are you’? – People will normally be pleased to hear from you, you can invite people over for coffee – they may say they are ‘busy’, your 300 ‘friends’ may ignore your shout out but one may be glad for the chance of a coffee and a chat, it is that one that matters at this moment in time.  It is also likely that the others either think ‘that invite is not meant for me’ or that just may not be their thing, but, rest assured they do care in their own way and they will be pleased to bump into you in the street in two years, but you must accept that your lives are taking different directions and you are not in the same ‘clan’ right now.

To move direction slightly – a lot about friendships is the reciprocation we expect, the effort that we expect others to make – is it our own insecurity that leads us to want reassurance that we are cared about?  There is an element of truth in getting busy and taking responsibility for filling your time, we all need people around us, we are social creatures and we need to make an effort to develop a social circle, otherwise we will just fester and feel bitter towards those who have this circle, that we are not party to.  This will lead to us feeling hurt, and to push people further away by refusing to ‘make the first move’.

Your ‘friends’ will always be pleased to see you, whether in one year or ten, but meanwhile you need something to look forward to every week, preferably a few times a week, whether that be work, networking, badminton, darts, volunteering, crafts, or any kind of hobby group, the key is to have a ‘team’ a ‘clan’ – going to the shop or cafe does not suffice, you will feel lonelier if you head out on a mission for a conversation and return home having not managed to have one.  This is why many are jealous of different cultures within our society, they know how to do things ‘together’, we have lost these ‘pack values’ and so isolation is of our own making. Our own pride, our own fear, our own stubbornness.

Giving to receive can also leave you feeling bitter and hurt.  The wonderful Jay recently released a video about a man who gave his eyes to his fiance who wanted to see before marrying.  The video was aimed at her not realising that he had given up his sight for her and her being angry with him for not telling her that he was blind.  Whilst the video intended to make her /us think about judgement, I would say that this is where many of us go wrong. You should give selflessly, not for return.  Pure love would be to give your sight. To give your sight for love and because you want to benefit from it sets you up for disappointment.  If you love to be loved in return you will feel needy, you will become reliant and you will be in a lot of pain if the person leaves you.  But if you love, enjoy the moment in time that you have with this person and then love them enough to not to stand in the way of their own journey of love, self discovery and free path you will ultimately benefit from being able to love them always, without claiming ownership of them.

What I am trying to say is love your friends, love the people who have been in your life try not to feel angry with them for not completing your life, your life is your responsibility and yours alone, you need to actively find your own pack, and you need to actively let the people you care about know that you care about them so often, instead of creating a huge toxic divide that is created only by our own feelings of feeling unloved, or let down.  What was an innocent six or twelve months silence can turn into feelings of hatred if not nurtured properly. If you have not spoken to a member of family or old friend for three years try sending a message asking ‘we haven’t spoken for a long time – did something happen or has life just been too distracting’ what’s the worst that can happen? You could lose a friend that you thought you had lost anyway, in which case you are set free, or you could be met with a lovely response reassuring you that you have a warm place in their heart.

Equally sometimes when the effort is all yours it is time to let go, but not with hatred, do not take it personally that they are not driven by the same loyalty to you as you are to them, love them and visually put them on a shelf and wish them well in their life, and if this leaves a gap, fill that gap in ways that is not reliant on individual people.  To love without needing to be loved in return is very empowering, to give without wanting thanks is very satisfying, and to share your ideas and knowledge without wanting gratification or reward is selfless and incredibly rewarding in itself.

We are too driven by protecting what we think is ours, but the only thing we really need to do is fill the world with love, acceptance and honesty, without fear of the outcome.  What is the real fear? What is the real need? Life is a journey, if you can trust this process you are free to give what you want to give, and you will create your own peace and love that no other can mask.  Accept love but keep your inner core intact, so if it bounces off you are as complete as you were before it came. Each encounter is a blessing, and more people care about you than you could possibly imaging, just remove the fear and be the one to make contact, instead of feeling pain and anger that nobody is contacting you.

Caring & Sharing x

#loneliness #isolation #depression #self love #friendship #empowerment #relationships

Advertisements

Working for Poverty & Self-Employment

‘It doesn’t pay to work’.  This is something I have heard for many years and the words have caused me great discomfort.  It is often perceived that living on benefits is a comfy lifestyle option, and with great analysis I have reached my own conclusion, which of course I am sharing as we all know I love to put the world to rights, as I see it.

My working life began age 14.  I was working as a waitress for £2.50 an hour.  An eight and a half hour working day bought me in £21.25p.  You will see an image below to evidence this (I had no idea why I had kept this for nearly 30 years until now.  I just trusted that I needed to!).  The wage slip is from when I had just turned 15, and it was before I was issued an NI number.  The minimum wage today, 27 years later is £3.70 for an apprentice, and £4.20 for school leaving age.  Source Acas

You can start to see where I am going with this, but at this point I recommend getting a coffee, as I have much to say on the matter!

When you look at inflation of property, food, living costs, fuel, taxes, and everything else, nothing compares, nothing at all (sorry Sinead).  It is beyond diabolical and completely unforgivable.  You will know if you follow my blogs that I do not do stats, I am quite simply too lazy, but here are some links for you to read A Telegraph article from ‘last week’ on how prices have changed over 30 years and A Sunlife article from 2016 on house prices The Telegraph article is great to read, I love seeing that the collective consciousness is on the same page with this.  You will see that there is evidence of a 500% house price increase.  That would suggest to me that the intern should now be on a minimum wage of £12.50 an hour, and the minimum wage should be more like £20 an hour (at least).  You may think that is completely unreasonable but unfortunately that is society following suit.  Employers are all following government guidelines and consequently are getting away with it, enjoying huge profits and fat top line salaries at the expense of their employees.  CIPD have recently published a report which again, is music to my ears about employee wellbeing with respect to financial strain, I am passionate about employee wellbeing and this report supports that low pay causes stress.  Read it here

Now I appreciate that the government are making some attempts to address ‘equal pay’ and I am pleased to see that the government plan to introduce CEO / Employee pay gap reporting see People Management article written by Dawn Lewis but I fear the workers on the ground are still left living in poverty whilst the government are too afraid to tackle the real issue – that is a ridiculously low minimum / living wage.  It is modern day slavery at it’s very best, and most concealed.

Employers are kidding themselves that the wages they are paying are acceptable, and that it is okay for their staff to live in poverty whilst they enjoy living in the top 10%.  Please! What is wrong with us? How is this acceptable? How has this happened?  Who calculates the living wage? Shame on you.  Is this a presumption that two people share the bills? A very historic assumption.  Is this genuine ignorance of today’s living costs? An average minimum of £1k per month on rent and bills (outside of London), for a single person.  With a minimum wage of £7.83 for age 25 and over, your average ‘hard-working’ adult, working a 40 hour week (9-5 – Man Made Manslaughter – see my earlier blog post) is bringing in £1357 before deductions, so take home pay is on average around £1,100 on a good month.  There simply is not enough money to cover outgoings, food and travel costs and so people are living on credit and in a desperate cycle to break free from the poverty.

It is clear that many are shouting out about this issue, but it is not being properly addressed, and certainly not quick enough, this needs to change and it needs to change very very quickly.  That brings me to talk about why people are choosing the ‘option’ of entrepreneurism, why we have so many new small businesses. I use the word ‘option’ very loosely, as actually I believe this to be a desperate measure to escape the trap that is our current work culture.  Now I have already highlighted my earlier 9-5 blog above, this is not new news – Dolly Parton sang about it in 1980!  Listen to the words!

What we have is a ‘desperate’ situation, now I really do not believe that anybody ‘wants’ to live on benefits.  It is the most degrading, humiliating situation to be in and one aspect of this was beautifully depicted in the recent movie I Daniel Blake.  I could personally relate to some of the scenes in this movie.  As a proud working woman who barely took a day off in 20 years, to then suddenly go from being a home-owner career girl to a single mum in receipt of benefits was such a shock.  I had no idea what tax credits were in my early 30’s, and the brief six months I turned to Income Support following the end of my maternity leave were soul destroying.  Now whilst I was very grateful that my daughter wasn’t torn from my arms as it was for my grandparents generation, to be sanctioned for borrowing £20 from my mum and not declaring it and having my bank statements scrutinised like some sort or criminal is something I will never forget.  To lose the freedom of your own income and to have people look at you like you are sponging scum despite 20 years contributions is something I do not believe anybody would choose.  My point?

Well my point is that it does not pay to work when wages are as low as benefits.  Living on benefits is seriously tight, it is living in poverty and there is no money for luxuries, and so it ‘does’ pay to work, for the sense of wellbeing it gives you and the opportunity to increase that income, but the income is rarely increased, only freedom is lost, childcare costs are added from 3pm if you are a parent and transport costs and of course the holiday period.  So many people are turning to being self-employed and turning into entrepreneurs because it is a desperate measure.  A desperate measure to escape the 9-5 and to have the chance to earn more than £10 an hour.  (which is still too low!).  All of these problems are man-made (or as somebody pointed out to me the other day ‘person-made – sorry – to PC for me, again we are allowing ourselves to be sheep trained).  We are human beings and we need to stop greed at the top.  We need fair pay, and fair hours.  With better pay, working in school hours can be a ‘choice’ living without luxuries can be a ‘choice’, a choice to pick up your children and give-up take-outs.

I appreciate that certain professions offer a good wage, and there are brilliant opportunities to re-train to work in a higher paid job, and there will always be a difference in income, but the difference is too grand.  The bottom line should not be poverty.  Top 10% and bottom 10% is not a fair way to divide the hard workers in this country.  I still hear people complain that ‘anybody’ can go to university now, these people are oblivious to their own privileges.  Everybody deserves the chance to be the very best they can be.

Wellbeing will seriously increase when these changes are made.  NHS costs will decrease, road accidents will decrease, ill health will decrease, crime will reduce (yes, much crime is fuelled by anger and need for money) .  Benefit claimants will decrease.  If you cannot see that I urge you to dig deep.  I have recently discovered the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – this tag links to an article entitled ‘Almost a quarter of people in Wales are trapped in poverty’.  When I see the articles and hard work of the JRF, and Shelter, and such charities I wonder, why isn’t anything changing? It is so obvious.  Pay is too low.  Pay is too low.  Come-on Government, look, the pay is too low.  You have been chosen to govern the country to look after society, and look what is happening under your power, on your watch.   You can change this.  Not in 20 years, not in 10.  Right now.  Don’t worry about ‘where the money will come from’ worry about where money will be saved.  For a start people will not need to top up their wages with HB or TC,  NHS will save money on drugs (a much bigger outlay than wages), and people will want to work if they can pick up their kids and be paid a wage in line with inflation.

I have another beef.  the lottery, I have mentioned it before.  If you think that people are gambling responsibly you are deluded.  Most people are gambling out of sheer desperation to escape poverty.  The government are getting greedy.  People are being tricked into funding lottery funded projects because they are desperate to win some money.  Now I know that the lottery supports some really good causes, but you ask people if they would donate to these causes if there wasn’t a chance to win, probably not – not because they are selfish, or don’t care, but because they are living in poverty and cannot afford to support other causes.  It is all too greedy.  When it was £1 a week that was a reasonable amount for people to gamble, that was ‘responsible’, but now it is most nights, £2.50 per go sometimes, people have the same numbers they are afraid of missing and consequently are paying at least £50 per month – that they cannot afford out of their income, because they are desperate.  You have allowed this to happen Gov.  not feeling very proud right now.

I conclude.  People are not really lazy, they want to work, working can be fun, being around people is healthy, having a steady wage is lovely, but entrepreneurism seems to be the only hope at the moment to escape poverty and achieve work-life balance, but hope is what it is, again the stats speak for themselves that this is not an easy option, it is a desperate option, because the wages are not properly governed.

As a country we have a collective responsibility to make some significant changes, and this must be addressed by our government, who we trust and nominate to take care of our wellbeing as a society.  Workers will not challenge the wage offered to them, how can they? They will fear losing the job altogether, and where we accept this income we make a rod for our own backs, but what choice do we have when we are powerless to do anything about it?  We need to make the change happen higher up the ladder, we need protection, help, support, we need to be looked after as members of society, we are happy to work, but unless the house prices are going to decrease 400% and bills equally, the wage needs to inflate, and it’s the job of the country’s leaders to make that happen.

I would like to make a few additional points:

Rich House Poor House is a lovely documentary that sensitively highlights the wage divide.  Please watch it whatever your status.

Can’t pay we’ll take it away – I’m not offering a link this one.  It disgusts me how we are filming people at their lowest, these people are in genuine despair and it is being used as entertainment.  We are behaving like animals not helping them.  If you think they choose not to pay you are ignorant, for that you can be forgiven, but you need to understand the reality by watching Rich House Poor House.

If you are looking at setting up a business but are in poverty charities such as Fredericks Foundation may be able to help you.

It is not okay to spend a lifetime renting.  A mortgage would only last 20-40 years.  When you rent you never get that light at the end of the tunnel and never lose that overhead.   See my earlier rental blog here

Empty properties need filling.  Flats should be a lifestyle choice or stop gap in your twenties whilst having enough disposable income to save.

I firmly believe that there would be a lot less hatred for immigration if people weren’t living in poverty and feeling threatened and equally obesity would decline if people had the finances and the time to eat properly and be more active.

There are so many fundamental errors with our way of thinking, our system, we cannot rely on the lottery to bail us out, we have a collective responsibility to make things change, if you are struggling you need to shout louder, and if you are a wealthy employer you need to ask if a portion of your wealth is blood money?  And if you are justifying it because you are a sheep?

Sharing with love not hate, as always.

I apologise for typos, it’s late and I’m not reading this long blog before I post it! Feel free to point out spelling & grammar and I’ll tweak later!   Ta.

Pay Slip 1991

 

SAD?! – more like Instinctively Awake…

Those of you familiar with my writing will already have an awareness that I get pretty cheesed off when people are labelled with having a disorder when actually they are perfectly natural human beings.  It is the labels that increase the anguish.

SAD (Seasonal Affective – dare I say it – Disorder) is not getting off the hook!  And as the long nights are creeping in and the weather outside is chilling – I have been beckoned to reassure some of you where it may be easier to convince you that you have some sort of disorder, that in-fact the opposite is true.  You are awake! Your instincts are in tune and your inherited behaviour is what it should be.  The ‘disorder‘ is just as appropriate a label for those members of society who do not recognise what is natural for some.

If you have identified with the symptoms of SAD, then let me congratulate you! You are a human being whose natural spirit has not been completely wiped out by man-made rules and regulations of when you should get up, get out, be active, and pretend that winter isn’t happening.

Putting on weight? of course you are!  Embrace it!  Your body is naturally storing carbs – it does not know that the supermarket is open all year round, your beautiful body is protecting you!  In the spring you will naturally want to get out and about and be more active and those few pounds will soon disappear again.  Love your body all year round, it is doing exactly what is should.  Deprive it and you risk losing the very essence of who you are!  A good idea now is to make seasonal veg stew, feed your body what it needs, then it will not make you crave the carbs that are laced with flour and sugar that will block your oxytocin and make you feel like s***.  Listen to your body and reap the benefits of a happy life right away!  No stress.

Now of course I realise that in this day and age the reality is that we all need to work all year round (at least until society catches up to working more in the summer days and less in the winter – but that’s a bigger task than I can tackle!) – but what you can do is identify what you must do and release yourself from what you do not have to do.  Take every opportunity that you can to enable your body to curl up in the warm and enjoy wholesome winter food, long baths and movies!  You will feel wonderful for it.  Your stress will drastically reduce, and you can face your days at work knowing that in between you can return to natural hibernation mode.

Natural light therapy is a wonderful thing, in the sense that it attempts to trick your beautiful natural being into thinking that it’s not really hibernation season, but surely tricking our bodies will leave them with more turmoil and confusion, creating even more inner stress.  Work with what is natural, not against it.  Let your body feel the seasons and do your best to nurture and work with them.

You do not have a disorder my friend.  You have evolved beautifully, and your natural instincts are still intact.  Congratulations!

Just a quick blog post as I’m tired – in otherwords naturally in hibernation mode – and loving it!!

NB* We have all evolved differently and so some will not understand hibernation (i.e. bird v hedgehog) – but that’s a different blog for a different day! (spring possibly) 😉