Thursday 23 February 2012

moany moany

I have always thought of myself as a really positive person.  I tend to look on the bright side when things go wrong, to focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems, to bounce back fairly quickly when things go wrong. I prefer to be active rather than sat around doing nothing. I like to have and to be fun. I know plenty of people of whom the same cannot be said, but I've always been sure it could be said of me.

the girls on our weekend away
Which is why it has always rattled me a bit whenever I've been referred to as "moany". Most recently was on a weekend away with my girlfriends from school.  We were talking about skiing. I said I had never been skiing and one of my friends said "oh god I'd hate to go skiing with you, you'd just moan all the time". I was totally taken aback but managed to point out that in fact I hadn't moaned the entire time we'd been away (save to 'observe' I had a spot of tummy ache the day before). My friends went quiet for a bit and then admitted, yes it was true, I hadn't been very moany this weekend.

So why had it taken me aback? For two reasons. Firstly because of the moaning thing, I don't know where it comes from. And secondly because I'm not one of these girly girls who has to be surrounded by creature comforts and doesn't like getting mucky/cold/falling over etc. I love adventure, going fast, snow and the cold so surely I'd be a right laugh skiing...wouldn't I? As it happens I've never actually wanted to go skiing for some reason but this wasn't the point at the time.

In the past moments like these would have sent me off into some quiet, dark place of introspection whilst I contemplated how misunderstood I was, and wondered why my friends, after 22 years still appear not to know me at all.  This time though, coming on the back of about 3 months of my already started journey of self unravelling (and hence the lack of moaning on said weekend), I took a different view. Perhaps it was in fact me who had always misunderstood me. Perhaps I just didn't know myself as well as I thought, or as well as they knew me. Maybe I was (or at least had been for a vast proportion of my life) a moaning old minnie afterall.

A few weeks later, having entirely forgotten this incident, I found an old app on my phone that tracks facebook status updates. I had a quick scroll through for a laugh. But bloody hell, a laugh it certainly was not. And somewhere in my head a very bright lightbulb was switched on.

This was the 'me' I'd been putting out there for the world to see. This was the 'me' my friends were experiencing. And this 'me' was a right old whinge bag! My back this, a snotty cold the other, late trains here and long days at work there. Headache, headache, headache. Blah blah blah woe is me. Dear oh dear. I wouldn't want to go skiing with me either! It's no good turning up and being jolly for 2 days on a weekend away if for the entire rest of the time all you're doing is moaning on facebook!

What's weird though, is I don't remember feeling that negative, ill, moany in 'real-life'. I still maintain that in 'real-life' I'm happy go lucky and positive. I have bad days, and I have very bad days but I'm generally an up rather than a down person. So why was I being so down on facebook!?

I don't really know why this happened, to be honest, or when it started, it doesn't really matter right now, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. So many of us end up caught in negative thought patterns, casting ourselves in some kind of victim of life role, it's almost like we actually compete with each other for how rubbish a time we're having sometimes, and we don't even realise we're doing it.

I think we tell so many stories about our lives and about who we are, to ourselves and to others and I'd got so used to telling this particular story, always talking about my back and how rubbish everything was, that it had totally taken over and somewhere along the line the 'real' me had got lost. Without my even realising it. It had become a self fulfilling prophecy and one that was really hard to break because everyone around me, including my best friends, had been taken in by it as well.

Interestingly, my husband was not taken in by any of it. He was very much still following the story of, and keeping in touch with the 'real' me. And I love him for that.

I spotted that it was as I too began to rediscover the 'real' me that  these dreary negative posts eased off. Thank goodness.  I made a vow never to let them creep in again

And as soon as I realised what had been happening, and made an effort to stop, all the things I'd been finding to moan about magically went away. The less I go on about my back, the less it hurts. The less I complain about random this and thats, the more things I find to be grateful for instead. This life lesson of mine is backed up by plenty of science and findings from elsewhere. Most of the books written on the subjects of suffering and/or happiness whether from a religious, spiritual or psychological point of view all reference self talk, the subconscious, storytelling and the law of attraction as being major players...and ones I'm sure to be coming back to here time and time again.

But for now, I think my most important finding from all of this has been that the less time I spend telling the story of this other 'me', the more both myself and my friends can get to know the 'real' me....

...and I know I certainly like her a lot better, skiing or not.

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