Turning that frown upside down

I don’t need to tell you how the days run away with themselves if you’re stuck indoors all the time. Over the last while, I’ve been trying to do at least one thing per day that is constructive or meaningful. I don’t always manage it. It helps to make lists and tick things off, even if it’s just what to make for lunch or which TV series to watch.

Sometimes I’ll put something off, just so I have a job for tomorrow. It seems that I’m ‘fighting vainly, the old ennui’ like Cole Porter. Yesterday, I ran out of things to see, fix or build, and like Alexander the Great, I wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. Actually, I wept because I had run out of fig rolls.

In my torpor, I made a list of a few things that I have learnt over the years, here they are, for what it’s worth:

There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If you like something, own it. If other people think it’s naff, who cares? Don’t be like St. Peter and deny it, look what happened to him.

When I was an actor, I loved performing. Thinking about it now, even more than that I enjoyed rehearsals and going to the pub with the cast afterwards. I suppose I enjoyed being in a team, the most.

I should never talk about politics with my mother. I try not to, I vow that I won’t but when my guard is down or I’m really appalled by something, I open my big mouth. Then things really kick-off. No, stick to the weather, John.

If you need help, ask for it. If you want to help someone, wait until you’re asked. Be supportive and be a good listener but don’t offer solutions where they’re not wanted.

People are doing the best they can with the resources that they have available. That can be hard to get your head around but I believe it to be true.

Renunciation beats resistance. When you turn away from a problem, it loses its power. When you resist, it leaves something on you. I don’t feel like I have to win every battle nowadays. I like to win a healthy percentage though.

The ice cream van that used to come around my street when I was a kid sold cigarettes to young children. That’s bad, but her ice cream was unsurpassed.

Sometimes we mix up love for obsession. When we look back, we ask, was that really love? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. That was then and this is now, those memories are just ripples on a pond.

Reflecting back on that list, it strikes me that they are all positives plucked from negatives. That's what we do all of the time when we feel safe and positive. When we are struggling then it's harder. I've had some difficult days over the last year when it's harder to re-frame problems into opportunities. Still, I'll keep trying because if today is rotten, tomorrow may be fine.

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Written by John Cooper Hypnosis MPNLP Dhp GHR(reg)

John Cooper is a clinical hypnotist, teacher and writer.

From his practice in Stamford, Lincolnshire, John specialises in helping people with emotional problems. He writes a regular newspaper column in Peterborough Telegraph about culture, memories and fig rolls. He is good at hypnotherapy but bad at assembling furniture.… Read more

Written by John Cooper Hypnosis MPNLP Dhp GHR(reg)

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