Once upon a time when I lived in NW Indiana I joined a group of women encouraged to do so by Oprah Winfrey to discuss a self-help book written by life coach Cheryl Richardson.
Five of us responded to a group in the southern suburbs meeting at a Border’s Bookstore over the period of a year. Our group was made up of an antique dealer, an MSW in childhood trauma, a sales manager for a large well-known European manufacturer, a data processing person at a bank, and myself a pharmaceutical rep for a major drug company.
One of the fondest memories I have from those meetings was when we all admitted how many self-help books we owned which we never read. We all owned at least 10-20 such books. When I look back I realize that we all buy into the idea of self-help because we really do want or need to be better people, yet the books remain unread. We also get pushed into buying these books by talk show guests – believing that everything that is inside the covers of these books will make us better.
If you have ever been in sales then you know that in sales meetings you are bombarded with books and videos of the self-help inspirational genre.
You buy them – I buy them. You watch them on TV, I watch them on TV and better yet when they get their own talk shows we watch them for how long? Most people probably don’t make it through one new TV season.
I was an Oprah Show addict while I lived in NW Indiana. I had many personal “Oprah” sightings including one where we spoke to each other. I taped every show and my husband and I watched her while we ate dinner. That was then; this is 5 years later. I can honestly say there is life after Oprah and I have not watched one of her shows since moving to Florida. She changed and I changed and I did not like her shows any longer-OR-maybe I did not need to watch her shows any longer. Maybe I self-helped myself out of that addiction to everything Oprah said and did must be right and true.
Don’t get me wrong I do not think she is a bad person-the turn her show has taken just doesn’t interest me.
We tend to reach for help and assistance when obviously our lives are upside down. I came to the realization one day that I no longer flipped on the TV to catch her show. I had been watching her religiously 0ver the 7 year period of time in which I had left living in a foreign country to return to the US. I needed her self-help guests then. I also realized I was in a much better place in my life when I stopped watching.
Five years ago I had just embarked on a huge move – moving thousands of miles away with my husband. I had quit working for “the man” and became self-employed. My life had done a 180 degree turn and I was in control. I spent a year decorating a beautiful home. I travelled with Larry to Europe twice, once for him to pick up an award for a fabulous food and wine matching book he had written, and once again to spend New Years Eve in Paris, France. I was building a business for he and I, and I started a side business in design. More than that, I was and still am really happy. I had finally gotten “there”.
Where is “there”? Well we buy into books and TV shows when we feel we have no one or no where else to go. I am not saying meeting my husband and falling in love with him was my fix in life. Not at all – but being with a grounded person helped me to find my inner peace and made me a better person.
I don’t think anyone should be alone in life, we are not meant to be alone. I do believe there is someone for everyone, in fact statistically there are several someones for everyone. I don’t understand people who choose to live the spinster/hermit lifestyle – and I am not going to try to explain it here. I just know that until I faced my demons and brought them into the happiness mix of being in love I was not truly happy.
I could try to convince people I was happy by only hanging around happy, positive people but like everything else in life there is always going to be a negative unhappy person crossing your path probably daily. Can you detour, sure, but everytime you detour you are closing yourself off from real life. Real life has its ups and downs and happy and unhappy moments and you learn from negativity. If you are sitting there thinking “Yeah I learned I don’t want it in my life” you are off base. After all if you attract the positive you also attract the negative and need to learn, as I did, why you attracted it in the first place. In other words, you may have your own inner demons – sorry but you can’t have it only one way.
Real life has balance – it is not one-sided and you cannot keep negativity at bay. Personally I think many people who claim they only want positive people need positive people because they are so unhappy themselves.
Negativity has it’s rewards-it reminds us how to be grateful – it brings empathetic feelings into our lives. If we cannot feel empathy then we do not feel at all do we?
I feel that one of the worst negative feelings anyone can have is to be judgemental. Do we all judge, of course! Do we judge more when we are unhappy, yes! Do we make mistakes in judging people, yes! Do we do and say stupid things when we judge, hell yes! Judging others is very negative-and when you judge someone you invite them to judge you back.
A huge example of negative feelings that come out of judging people is the differences in the beliefs and policies of the two major governmental parties. There is nothing positive happening when anyone is in the middle of a discussion on politics. There are people who love to stir the pot and make harsh judgements which lead us to have an opinion, and if we dare to speak it put us on the firing line to be judged.
Opinions and judgement are interchangeable too. In giving an opinion as I did here, I was skirting a topic I have spoken about in my blogging before. I have single friends and I have friends in relationships – in my opinion those friends who are in a stable (and I have to put that word into the mix) relationship are in a much better place in life. Their spoken and written words are generally less harsh than those of their single counterparts. Statistics prove that single people do not live as long-having someone else to care for and care back does wonders for you physically and emotionally.
When I wrote about this in a former blog, Caroline the Stalker was born. She did not like it when I wrote that those who have been single the longest may have the most selfish negative opinions. Selfishness to them is normal, they can always put themselves first but that also creates very spoiled, and sometimes nasty, spinster/hermits.
I am not saying that all single people are selfish and negative, I am saying that for some reason I attract them. There are selfish negative people in relationships but the key difference is I am only talking about stable couples – happy unselfish people in stable relationships.
When I was in that same emotional mode I know I probably drove my friends insane because I could spout all those wonderful positive thoughts all day making people believe I was the next Wayne Dyer, but I was not spouting how I really felt. In a flash of time I could drop the pretense and become that energy stealing vampire that brought Caroline into my life.
I could talk out of both sides of my mouth better than anyone I knew. It takes a lot of energy to say one thing and do another all day long, 365 days a year. One of the interesting ways to recognize a person who does this is when you get “there” you see yourself in that person. You have to be open to looking for this trait and willing to admit it like I am here.
It is a lot easier to spot these days – people blog, people are on MySpace and Facebook and a pattern emerges over time.
You know the type person I am talking about – you hide their comments, you don’t open their email or you roll your eyes a lot.
When I think of attraction I remember that opposites attract also so it is not always like to like, positive to positive – you will attract polar opposites in life and many of us have even fallen in love with them. It is about balance though – I accept the negative along with the positive because let’s face it too much of either is just not the way this world works.