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Five Epiphanies

Updated on August 8, 2011
Not taking oneself too seriously is key.
Not taking oneself too seriously is key. | Source

Positivity - What I do that I notice other people do not do...

Epiphany #1: I'm not perfect; oh well, move on.

How to write this hub without sounding as though I have an ego the size of Manchester and a ridiculous superiority complex? It can't be done, so I'll just crack on and add a disclaimer at the end.

I've wondered about my own ability to be positive almost all the time for a while now. Is it because my life is cushy? A little bit. Is it because I've achieved some kind of enlightenment that allows me to see beyond my own life? Probably. Is it because I've nothing to feel negative about? I think so. So, how is it that so many people who live a similar sort of lifestyle to me have so much trouble in getting through a day without wishing that that day would just end as quickly as possible? How is it that the little things simply wash over me, whereas for thousands, millions of other people, those same little things build up like a snowdrift at the front door preventing them from getting outside to go and enjoy a decent snowball fight?

Well, I can tell you that I am not so utterly positive by accident: I am a product of my upbringing, my environment, my excellent parents, and my own training. I have not always been so annoyingly cheery. I have had my share of depressing times, my share of loneliness and being lost and unable to find my place in the world. But somewhere along the way I did some thinking, very serious thinking* about what exactly I was feeling angry about. Why was I so depressed because I couldn't get a boyfriend when I was at university? Why was I sitting around the house every weekend, watching the telly and feeling bitter about having no friends? Why had I stopped doing all of the things that I was talented at in favour of becoming very dull indeed? I really have no idea why actually. Probably because I was a bit pathetic.

Outwardly I was not much different from how I am now: smiley, friendly, positive. But inside I was seething, with jealousy usually, envious of other people who seemed to have everything while I had nothing. When I was at university my family was pretty poor - my parents had separated, so now there were two mortgages to pay and two low wages. I rarely had money to join in with what my friends were doing, so would frequently sit in by myself just watching telly, too bitter and jealous to get on with work and earn myself a First Class degree. Idiot! Never once did it occur to me to get myself a part-time job, to earn a bit of cash to be able to do a few fun things. Moron!

Somewhere along the way to 34 I acquired a partner and some children, very many books, a house, a computer, a widescreen flatscreen television, a tumble dryer (gasp, for shame!) and lots of other Stuff. I had it all! And with the children came a tiredness the like of which I had never known before, and with the tiredness came a temper to rival that of Zeus himself (I am currently reading a book of Greek myths to my children, which is very good). I regularly caught myself trying to smite my family with thunderbolts. Sometimes this would lead to all kinds of spiralling emotions: guilt, more anger, resentment, regret. I did not know what to do with all of those feelings. Actually, I did know, but I imagined that I was too busy and too tired to do it. What I actually needed to do was accept responsibility instead of blaming my partner, my children, the world.

A friend once lent me a book about bringing children up in the Christian way (I do not think there was much that was Christian about the book, I'm not sure why it was given that label: possibly only because its author was a Christian). I read it out of politeness; actually, I read a little of it and then put it aside in disgust! As I said, there was nothing Christian about it, but there was a lot that was stupid! Almost the first sentence I read absolved parents of any blame when it came to their child's bad behaviour. I'll paraphrase: if you are the parent of a difficult child, you are not to blame; if you are the parent of a well-behaved child, you are just lucky, don't brag about it.

Excuse me while I just vehemently disagree! Sometimes, when my children behave badly it is my fault, for allowing them to indulge in behaviour that I know to be unacceptable. When they are cheeky, when they argue, answer me back and so on it is often my fault for setting a bad example, for shouting at them too much, for not teaching them how to resolve issues in a calmer way. I think it's a dangerous thing to tell parents that they are not to blame, ever, for their child's bad behaviour; that way lies false diagnoses for ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome and so on.** A new one I heard, just today, is Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which I can only take to mean this lack of respect for anyone, and particularly for authority, that many young people display today (I do actually love young people, many of them are simply lovely!). I cannot fathom why we, society I suppose, are so reluctant to lay the blame at the feet of bad parents. Bad parents exist, we should acknowledge that, so that those people can, if they choose, become better parents. I myself have been an appallingly bad parent at times - I am thinking of the two occasions when I have smacked my eldest son too hard. Disgusting behaviour, and I have no excuse for it whatsoever. But hiding from my blacker side, and pretending that it'll all be alright if I just ignore my faults is not the right thing to do; it's only by acknowledging my failings that I can learn from them. Blaming my child for being naughty and forcing me to smack him is just lying to myself, because no child deserves to be hit.

But how can I now be blissfully happy and constantly positive, when I have done such a thing? Well, because I have had Epiphany #1. I have realised that I am not perfect. And because I have realised it, I am now responsible for it, and now in control. In a word, I am 'mindful' of my imperfections, and now I can take steps to guard against them. It doesn't always work, but let me carry on. Now, people have this epiphany every day, so what makes me different from them? Well, the only difference that I can see, and why this and the other epiphanies have worked for me, is because I remind myself of them every day. Several times a day, in fact, and I don't just apply them to my parenting mistakes, I apply them to everything. And it did not take much practice to learn to remember them, to believe them, to forgive myself, and move on, leaving the bad stuff behind, in the past, which is the only place for it.

This is it in a nutshell: I'm not perfect; oh well, move on. And what's important about allowing myself to be happy, even when I've done something incredibly stupid (it happens often) is that I move on immediately. I never allow myself to write off a whole day just because something has gone wrong in the morning: that would be a waste of a day in which something good could be achieved in the afternoon or the evening. Starting again tomorrow is no longer good enough for me - starting again right now is the key to my happiness.

An example is to do with the way my bad temper works, the way I have forced it to work. I can blow up at the slightest thing sometimes, and if I argued with my partner I might burn away a whole evening in resentment and anger. But for a few years I have been moving on. The argument may not have been resolved, and we may come back to it another day, but for now, when I've had my shout, I allow myself to smile, relax and enjoy the next bit of the day. It's alright to shout - and I need to shout, otherwise I'll spontaneously combust because I'm a quarter Italian - but I move on afterwards, always. Like Rafiki says, in The Lion King, after he whacks Simba over the head with his staff, 'it doesn't matter, it's in the past...'

*That's patronising, I know, I'm not the only person who can think. But thinking is what I have done, so there isn't another way to put it.

** Note that I say false diagnoses, and make no judgement on anyone who actually does have any of these disorders/syndromes/special needs.

Disclaimer: I do not believe myself to be superior to anyone else, because we are all just people, born into different circumstances, responsible for our own choices. Some of us are luckier than others, and we should all learn not to judge without at first attempting to understand a little bit. No-one is wholly what they seem on the surface to be, and everyone is probably worth getting to know at least a little bit (except for paedophiles, serial killers, evil dictators, rapists and domestic abusers!) At least if you get to know someone first, and it turns out that you don't like them, then you can ditch them, happy in the smug knowledge that you gave them a chance.

I've got a lot of anger, but that's alright.
I've got a lot of anger, but that's alright. | Source


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    • profile image

      website promoters 5 years ago

      well worth the read. I found very informative as I have been researching a lot lately on practical matters such as you talk about…

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Yes Michael, that's exactly what I was doing, and it looks like it worked! I don't really want to know what people really think of my writing, I just want them to praise me because I'm really very vain and shallow :D

      Thanks so much for that lovely comment though Michael. I'll to do more of this kind of thinking since it seems to be working out quite well. Maybe I could make a 'requests' hub, where people could leave suggestions as to things to write about, and anyone could dip into it and pinch the ideas. Hmm.


    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      That's a very apt Bible verse Alexander. Just keep getting up, dusting yourself down, and starting all over again - I don't really see another way of doing things, there's no choice in the matter. I'm certainly not the first person to say that we only have one life, and it's our own responsibility to make sure that we're happy - we can rely on others for our happiness to a certain extent (you know, like when we're in love, and when we have our children), but somewhere along the line that will be an incomplete kind of happiness if we're not happy within ourselves and happy with who we are. Gotta learn self-love - see me, I adore myself!!!!!

      Thanks Alexander :)


    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Hi again Linda, Hopefully your writing and subjects don't change too much after September as these have been really good. Interesting and great writing.

      As for the photos-yes you sure are a purty young thing. I especially loved the angry photo. It was as if it was a warning against anyone giving a negative comment!!


    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Wow. What a wonderful way to live - accepting you have faults and just moving on after a transgression. Taking responsibility for the things you are responsible and yet forgiving yourself when you fail and just getting back up again.

      Which leads me to a Bible verse: "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:" Proverbs 24:16

      (Just to clarify, I find that when the Bible talks in terms of seven, it seems to mean an infinite amount).

      The path to happiness you have chosen is one I aspire to.

      Love the pictures too :-)

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ha ha, thank you Michael (particularly for your kind words about my photos! Oh, ain't I so purty sometimes?!)

      I don't know what I'm writing about at the moment, just floundering around, putting down words, voicing some thoughts. Could use a bit of focus really, but I always get like this in the summer holidays when the kids are off. Looking forward to September (though not too much, because I love having all of my boys home) when I can get my writing time back, and get my err ... head in the game, as it were!


    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Linda, Just read a couple of things by you as you seem to have written a few hubs recently!! I thought this was really good. Like you say different from a lot of your other things by you but a fantastic hub. I have liked a lot of your hubs before but these last couple i have read are getting even better and i would love to read more like them. ( by the way love the photo's!! )


    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      @Ian - my children were watching some footage of orphans somewhere in Africa (I am hanging my head in shame, because my children were paying more attention than I was, and I should have watched it with them) and they were rapt. They are starting to realise that they have so much, and that others have nothing at all. I have said this somewhere before, but I heard someone say that compared to children in third world countries every child in this country is immeasurably rich. Now, that's not to say that there are no horrors in this country, that children are not living in fear, that they are all being allowed to enjoy their childhood as we would like them to. But we should not say that people are living in poverty, when they are simply poor. And even the poorest people that I know have more than we ever had when I was a child - my family was poor, but we felt that we had enough, because we had a home and enough food. People never feel as though they have enough these days. But as you say, it's not all as simple as that. Our country (and its selfish attitude) needs fixing - I think it can be fixed, but I don't think it will be fixed by this government. If I can just get my children to turn out alright, I think they may be the three people to fix it!!! It's the best plan I've got.

      @onegoodwoman - ha, yes, I have been purloining information from all the ladies of the world! Thank so much for the great comment, I do appreciate people telling me when I've written something that makes sense!

      @Mike - thanks so much for your encouraging remarks, as always. My Psychology professor would be astounded by me actually having something to say about the human condition, since I was awful at his subject when I took it at school - I swapped Psychology for Design Technology (was awful at that too!). I wonder if you will like the third of the epiphanies, which is about my atheism ;D I'm not intending for it to start a heated debate, but those kinds of hubs often do anyway! I'm reluctant to post it because I don't want it to turn into a slanging match (not that you would treat it as such, I know, of course!) so I am trying to word it so that it is sensitive to the differences in belief that we all necessarily have. The third epiphany cannot possibly relate to everyone, so I am simply sharing a little more of what makes me me.


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      Aka Professor M 6 years ago

      @LadyWordsmith: This literary offering, is an amazing, thoroughly entertaining, stimulating, autobiographical introspective that deserves a standing ovation, Linda.

      The degree of humanity is refreshing in this humourous, yet poignant expose, which you have produced in your own unique style.

      Your Psychology Professor would be exceedingly proud of this daring and indepth, illuminating thesis on the Human condition, as experienced on an uniquely personal level.

      You have a gift for lucid explanation, which very few writers can even dare to hope for in the Psychological and Philosophical realms have. Congratulations on a piece which actually makes sense to the reader!

      Voted up and Pushed all the buttons that matter!

      Regards Mike! (Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • onegoodwoman profile image

      onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town

      Have you been reading the diaries

      of mothers, wives, women across the globe?

      You have added humour to daily strife,in

      a way that few do, yet,

      you somehow managed to reveal

      the frailties of being human. That is a talent!

      I saw myself, several times!

      Keep 'em coming!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I don't know if I am right, but the Riotcleanup attitude seems to be so "British" but from a mythical Britain of way back. We are living in a Britain that seems to have lost its way recently. We have so much, and the safety net is so vast that no one in the country need ever starve or be without the basics of life: flat screen TVs, cannabis, iPhones, KFC.

      Believe me, I am not an Empire Loyalist, but I got quite emotional this morning when listening to LBC and people were talking about making it "better" again.

      I know it's not a simple business of disenfranchised youth, and poverty and lack of education... I know enough people from the Subcontinent who tell me horrific tales of poverty and corruption and starvation and police brutality that makes me cold with unhappiness. And my friend tells me that in Pakistan there are at least twenty-five murders a day, just in Karachi, and that at least one bombing takes place that kills women, children, men… all with their futures wiped out for no reason.

      There is police brutality on a regular and recognised basis that makes my skin crawl. Hardly ever are there riots for those crimes.

      In my part of London, for about two weeks, there was a knifing or a shooting every night. I saw no riots by the local youths to “Show respect” (Respect, Innit – with two fingers pointing down).

      Sorry, this was not meant to be a mini hub. I'll shut up now.

      Thanks for your concern, Linda.



    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Just been watching the news all morning. What's to be done? How do you fix a section of society that has no aspirations, no inspiration, no direction, that can't see past their own boredom? What a mess.

      On a positive note, I've been following @riotcleanup on Twitter, and as always happens, crises such as these do bring out the best in communities and individuals. That's something to be proud of.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you, Linda. Some of them are under teenaged. Where are their mothers when they come home with a 50" flat screen TV.

      Birmingham now and several other areas in London.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Oh Ian, stay safe. Are you seriously worried, for yourself? I can't believe what is happening down there. I don't know what to say about it because it's unfathomable. I had no idea that anything had been happening until tonight, when it was on the news.

      Are the rioters mostly kids?

      I'm thinking of you.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Make the most of me while I am here, Linda.

      We are surrounded on three sides by Brixton, Streatham Croydon, Balham. Since the rioting and looting and burning moved South of the River, it has moved closer to Norbury, where I live.

      Strangely, you hub fits in quite well with "parents who don't know where their teenage (and younger) children are.

      I am very worried.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Hello all, Kitty, Trish, Angie, Ian. I so appreciate these great comments, and am very glad that you engaged with this hub. I was very nervous about posting it, because it's rare that I write something that reveals so many of my real opinions about more serious subjects. Happiness is a serious business! I take it very seriously, and try to spread my great wisdom about it whenever I can, sharing my secrets to enjoying a blissful existence. Mostly I just get ignored, and told that I'm lucky and it's alright for me, blah, blah, blah.

      Angie - oh, I do agree with you on child rearing. So much passing of the buck, so many parents saying 'anything for a quiet life' (I've heard this phrase used many times over the past few years, and I find it truly horrifying), so many people seemingly scared to be firm with children, and to, as you say, pull them up sharply when they step out of line. Another thing I hear a lot is that I'm lucky to have such well behaved children - I find this infuriating, and not to mention insulting, because I pride myself that my children are well behaved because I have taught them how to be so. I don't get it all right, as I've admitted, but on the issues that are most important my boundaries are impenetrable. And I talk to my children, engage with them, and answer as many questions as they can fire at me every day - that is one of the most important things I can give them, I think.

      Ian, that's the problem isn't it though? That common sense approach does evade so many people, and I don't know how that can be fixed. So many people seem doomed to blindness when it comes to their own failings, and I certainly ain't going to be the one to go around pointing them out, ha! I've got too many of my own to not be hypocritical :)

      The story of Bradley is just horrible. I hear language like that very often where I live - I live in a nice area, but my children go to a school that has a mix of children from different backgrounds and estates, and there are some truly dreadful parents. My son has been bullied at school, and the child in question is a little ... what you said! But I can't bring myself to dislike him, because I know that all is not well at home. I don't expect my son to try to befriend his bully, but I do talk to him about this boy's reasons for feeling so angry. It's very sad.

      I had more to say, but I've forgotten most of it :( I wanted to respond more fully to each of you, but it's past my bedtime, so I'll have to hope I remember more things tomorrow.

      Night all.


    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I just came back because I forgot to mark it UP and USEFUL... and (Blush) AWESOME.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Linda (and Angie, by the way) I was rolling through this and enjoying and saying things to myself like, "She's right, you know", and it seemed so sensible, but somehow, when I got to the end, I realised, that; Yes, it is just common sense, but so many "Read This and You'll be a Better Human. FOREVER" books, don’t realise that it is the simple, common sense which evades so many people.

      Just picking the bit out that Angie highlighted, and you expressed so well, children are frequently the sum total of their parents' mistakes.

      I know the Nature Nurture argument will never go away, but I was dragged back in my thoughts, when reading it, and afterwards when I was cogitating (is that the word?) and I remembered when I was teaching, I would have a kid in my class - and there was one particular kid – who was well above average intelligence, handsome, healthy and capable of everything… but an absolute little shit.

      I make no apologies. He was a liar, a bully, a cheat, violent… and although I could usually relate to most children, and usually became well liked, I couldn’t; even get slightly close to him. There was a space between me and him that was a vast chasm.

      (Story almost coming to its conclusion).

      One day, the whole class had been slow in putting stuff away, and I had kept them in for about ten minutes to tidy up, and the door crashed open very dramatically, and a large, uncouth, overweight chunk of White Trash stood in the doorway. It was the boy’s “Mummy”.

      She opened her mouth and barked, “Bradley! Get here, you fxxxxxg little cxxt” and swept out, dragging him with her.

      Suddenly I realized that, perhaps without that as his mother, he could have a chance in the world. It all fitted so neatly into place.

      And now, after having been reminded, I think I’m going to see if I can find out what DID happen to him.

      Sorry if I went on a lot, but your hub was magnificent (I also hate “awesome”) in its clarity and simplicity and common sense.



    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hate the word 'awesome' - it's juvenile and so overused to be almost meaningless now - but in lieu of anything more intelligent I voted this hub 'awesome'.

      I am gobsmacked at this hub, LW! It is adult, wise and searingly honest, and I'm mad as a bag of spanners that I haven't written it. Lol, as they say.

      It is also very brave to point out the fact that children do need boundaries in the face of all the limp-wristed stuff that is put out nowadays about child rearing. Grr! there is so much laisse fair out there that kids have no guidelines that enable them to live in society.They need to be pulled up sharply when they step out of line otherwise they will live their lives unaccepted and on the margins of that society.

      So nice to hear some common sense - and from a Brit writer too!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi Lady Wordsmith :)

      Yes, bad things happen to everyone, and all of us make mistakes, but the difference between the optimist and the possimist is that one is generally happy and the other is generally sad.

      Of course, it is very different, if someone is experiencing real trauma, but for those who are just dwelling on the negative, and generally feeling rather sorry for themselves, when they have a lot to be grateful for, life could be so much happier, and they could feel so much more contented :)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      Lady Wordsmith - I fully agree with you in this hub. I feel the exact same way. Do I have a huge fancy house and fancy cars and fancy clothes? No, not really. Do I appreciate everything that I have and live my life in a positive attitude to the best of my ability? Yes, because I've been through worse in my childhood and honestly, my adulthood has been amazingly happy. I have a beautiful family, a decent job, and goals. What more could a person need? Material crap is material crap. Now, on to the kids. People are to a certain degree a product of their environment, if they let themselves be. Specifically for children, they are impressionable and instinctive. They only think about what they want at that moment and not what anyone else wants. You are right, if we allow them to have things that we know they shouldn't or allow them to get away with certain attitudes, they'll continue to act the same way and take it for granted. They need to be corrected. Great hub. I truly appreciate your honesty and positive outlook on life. Good for you and voted up & awesome! :)