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Trying to be a good person

(21 Posts)
NiceAcorn Mon 19-Sep-11 19:32:50

I am a believer in "pride comes before a fall". I made a mistake last year and in the run up had not been as nicer person as I could have been. I have tried very hard to change myself, be kinder, more tolerant, less nagging etc.

But I slip sometimes, and I hadn't been so good recently, had been negative when I didn't need to be and, low and behold - another mistake. BTW, these aren't affair-type mistakes, but I don't want to be too specific, if that's OK, as it involves my job.

So now, I am trying to fix the mistake and be a better person - almost like I can fix it through hard work and unrelated acts of kindness. Sounds so stupid when I write it down.

I can't stop the negative and unkind thoughts though, no matter how much I try and be good on the outside.

Any thoughts and comments to help me along would be much appreciated; talking to someone in RL is not an option. Thanks for reading.

NiceAcorn Tue 20-Sep-11 06:07:53

Not much sleep. Plenty of bad dreams. If I accept that I deserve this, and more, will my mistake be fixed?

CheerfulYank Tue 20-Sep-11 06:26:25

Everyone slips. It happens.

It's not our thoughts that matter as much as our actions. We are what we choose to do.

Good luck. I'm sorry I'm not more coherent but it's quite late here. I'll be back in the morning.

LeoTheLateBloomer Tue 20-Sep-11 06:46:22

Hi Acorn
I can relate to what you've written. Having recently come out of a bad relationship part of my healing process involves trying to be a better person myself.

I find myself making a real effort to stay calm where I might otherwise over react, see things from a positive point of view rather than negative etc.

I've been praying a lot (not sure where you stand on that but it's really helped me to find some extra strength) and I try to draw inspiration from people I know and admire.

However, I also slip and I was thinking only last night how sub-conscious thoughts keep popping into my head. I can't control the negative thoughts and I wish they didn't happen, but they do. At the moment I have a friend who I'm finding it very difficult to like and I keep having bitchy moments about her in my head. I think at the moment all I can do is think carefully about how I relate to her and talk to/about her in reality.

The other thing I'm trying to do is think about how I deal with the bad moments. I slipped big time recently and reacted very badly to a particular situation. I thought a lot about what had happened and spoke to the people involved about it, apologising. The 'old' me probably wouldn't have done that. I wouldn't have had the guts to face up to what I had done. I think it's important to confront one's actions, be accountable and learn from it.

I feel like I've messed up far less since I've been making these changed than I might otherwise have done. I'm a big believer in positive thinking and I really think it helps in the long run.

Don't beat yourself up. Have you ever heard the expression about eating an elephant? You can't eat it in one go. You need to do it bit by bit, in small managable pieces (sorry if you're a vegetarian, I've no idea where the phrase came from!)

Changing something about yourself takes time. Of course there will be moments of failure, but those should be seen as an opportunity for learning something about yourself.

Sorry, I've rambled on, but seeing your thread really made me think about what I'm trying to acheive as well.

Keep going and smile

weevilswobble Tue 20-Sep-11 06:50:02

God loves even the stupid people. The person whos getting on your nerves and causing you bad thoughts is loved by God as much as you are. Look at Jesus example of love and tolerance and be nice to yourself too. 'The Lord works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform' Sometimes things make us better people by testing us and forcing us to learn things about ourselves.
Can you say what is causing your negative thoughts?

NiceAcorn Tue 20-Sep-11 08:50:56

Thank you for replying. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

I do pray, but worry that because I'm not a "proper" religious person, it might count against me somehow. I try not to ask for much, except when I really feel I need some help and I try to say thanks for good things.

My negative thoughts have become a bad habit, I think. I find myself imagining conversations and situation in very negative ways and thinking bitchy thoughts. I try to make what comes out of my mouth positve and constructive, but it doesn't always work.

There is also a part of me that thinks that if I imagine the worst possible outcome to a situation, the reality might not be so bad? I've given up trying to imagine good outcomes, because that doesn't happen and I just get more disappointed and negative.

tuffie Tue 20-Sep-11 19:43:44

NiceAcorn - We all have bad thoughts about other people. Please don t feel guilty about it. The important thing is to acknowledge these feelings, which you have done, and to try and change by doing positive things. You can t change how you feel overnight though. It is a long process, but you have started the process, and will get there ! I am a Christian but I don t think anyone deserves the title of a "proper" religious person - we all make mistakes. Just do your best and accept that some days you will get it wrong. You sound like a good person and need to be kinder to yourself.

WisteriaWoman Tue 20-Sep-11 19:44:25

Hi Acorn
One book I've found really interesting / useful is the GodSeekers Guide by Lionel Blue - he says you should just chatter away to God rather than try to be someone you aren't.
ALso interesting is the Beliefnet website which has lots of inspiring quotes and stories.
I'm currently reading a book about journalling - i.e. writing a journal and it talks about how it helps you spiritually as well as just in ordinary life. It's called Life Path - perhaps journalling would help...
Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself, God loves you just the way you are. Honest!

BelleEnd Tue 20-Sep-11 19:52:32

Hello OP smile

I think it's a really important first step to decide to try and be a better person- It's so easy to blame the rest of the world (and sometimes, the rest of the world is to blame), but it's all we can do to try our best. And tuffie is right to say that we all have bad thoughts... I think you have to accept them as human nature- It's your actions that count, not the thoughts inside your head.

I'm a Quaker and the hour's silence I get a week is time I use to go over situations in my life, and decide what the right thing to do is- Not always the easiest for me, not always what I want most, but what is right for everyone. Quakers are seen by a lot as not being "proper" either, which I am so completely fine with! grin

I have done things I'm not proud of- Not massive things, but enough to make me feel guilty. I can only say that, myself, I had to apologize, accept that it was wrong, learn the lessons, and move on. Guilt is a horrid feeling, and if there is no way of righting the wrongs, completely useless. Give yourself a break. smile

itsatiggerday Tue 20-Sep-11 20:02:25

NiceAcorn - if you have a bible, can I suggest that you read Romans? It's about 3/4 through, after the gospels and then Acts in the new testament. Especially chapter 3 if you can't face the whole lot - it is a relatively dense argument....

The amazing thing about being a Christian is that God asks us to recognise that we cannot be good. Not properly good, inside and out. But he's covered all our sins and declares us not guilty (justified in bible language) so we need have no guilt. If you make it to ch 6 it discusses why this actually sets us free to live better lives and in ch 8 there's a complete declaration of why we need have no more fear of condemnation. It really is why it's such good news!

weevilswobble Tue 20-Sep-11 22:09:53

<claps hands, smiles and cheers at you lovely people>

springydaffs Tue 20-Sep-11 22:42:39

Really sad to hear you giving yourself such a hard time OP. Give yourself a break! You are no worse or no better than anyone else. We all have the capacity to be vile as we all have the capacity to be loving - it illustrates the two things at war in us.

I also think that the more attention you give to something 'bad' the more prominent it will become in your life. YOu seem to be struggling with guilt - a heavy dose of - but, as tigger says, you are forgiven. It's actually quite useless to try to be good on your own - you'd be there for ever and ever and ever and still not get there.

I don't know who you pray to but you could ask God to show you that you are forgiven and that you don't need to be toiling away, punishing yourself, making up for things you've done wrong. I don't know if you are a mother but I wonder if you would want your children to be going through the agonies you are going through if they get something wrong? You wouldn't, you'd hate that they can't enjoy their lives: times that by a million trillion and you've got God's tender love for you. Eyes-wide-open love too - he doesn't say oh my goodness I didn't expect that from her re he knows exactly what and who you are, and that you are totally forgiven.

There is a saying that you can't stop birds flying around your head but you can stop them nesting in your hair. I get the most foul thoughts sometimes but I don't take them seriously iyswim. I know that is not what I want to be and i push on.

springydaffs Tue 20-Sep-11 22:48:27

apologies that I've made assumtions about your gender OP. No matter! there is neither jew nor greek... re it all applies regardless of gender.

NiceAcorn Tue 20-Sep-11 23:53:49

Hello again and thank you all for posting. It really is so comforting to have you talk to me.

First thing today I felt so, so bad. I wanted so much to punish myself, I thought about self-harming. I didn't do it, I don't have the nerve. The day seemed to improve, I have tried to be positive, praise others, offer kindness and do crap/tedious stuff without moaning.

But I have now heard of another, unrelated to me, work problem. I'm still trying to fix what I've done, so no-one suffers a loss because of it (I'm not a city-trader or anything like that), but learning of the other issue makes me realise that I must not make mistakes.

Yes, I am a mother. I would hate my child to suffer the guilt feeling I have felt for so long. I don't think I'm a particularly good mother, but I realise I must make more of an effort to ensure that aspect of me is not passed on.

I do have a bible, so will look at the bit you suggested and I am a fan of Lionel Blue, so will look at his book too.

Re-reading your kind words is a great comfort. Thank you all.

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-11 10:30:52

I think it might be an idea to visit your GP as i think you are suffering from a bad dose of depression Acorn. I don't think your thoughts are healthy and I would suggest a course of anti-depressants, which get the right (feelgood) brain chemicals firing again. Probably because of your anxious thinking, the feelgood chemicals have been switched off or are running under par, hence anxious thoughts etc - a vicious circle. Please, get on a course to get your life back. I would also suggest some counselling to tackle the destructive thoughts.

I've been there Acorn, as have countless millions. Depression is not new - in fact, I sometimes think there is something wrong with people who don't suffer depression at some stage iyswim.

Has something happened that started off the anxious thoughts?

NiceAcorn Wed 21-Sep-11 15:05:30

Hello Springdaffs & thank you.

I have thought about visiting my GP, but am reluctant, as I suspect many people are. I'm not sure where I'd start explaining things, I'd be concerned about wasting their time (if my brain is, actually, normal) and I suppose I'm worried that AD's would be some sort of "black mark" on my records and my daughter's too. I do use Rescue Remedy, which helps. It's my "courage in a bottle". I've used St Johns Wort too in the past, which has helped too. I'm not ruling out the GP, though.

Today feels better. I'm continuing my efforts to be positive on everything I can and am finding that nice things coming out of my mouth are making me feel better inside.

Also, I heard Thought for the Day as I drove to work this morning, and that lifted my spirit too.

My current anxieties were triggered by an error I have made at work. It's contining to be a great help to talk to you and to read all your replies.

hiddenhome Wed 21-Sep-11 15:50:49

Don't rule out antidepressants. They've revolutionised my life and I have hardly any negative thoughts now smile

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-11 16:22:51

Hi Acorn - please don't think that taking anti-depressants would be a 'black mark' on you or your daughter's records - chances are, you know, that the GP may be on them too! (I bumped into one of my old GPs, who had previously really helped me when I was going through a tough marriage; who told me joyously that he was on them now and he wished everyone would take them!). It is now totally accepted in the medical community that people get anxiety and/or depression and sometimes need a leg-up re anti-depressants combined with counselling. It isn't in any way a stigma - you may be surprised how many people you know are on them..

I took anti-depressants when I had post natal depression and I can honestly say they saved my life. And THANK GOD for modern medicine because in the old days all they could offer were tranquilisers, which are highly addictive and don't in any way address the brain chemistry that has become sluggish due to anxiety. Modern anti-depressants literally get the feelgood chemicals working again: so, you get yourself back, not a drugged-up zombie.

In conjunction with the meds, counselling, or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) techniques, can really help if your thoughts have become troublesome and are undermining your quality of life.

Please don't think you're on your own with this Acorn, you really are not. I also used to take rescue remedy and St Johns Wort - both really helpful - but sometimes we need something that gets the the root of the problem. I understand your reluctance - as you say, most people are reluctant to consult a GP about things like this - but I think you will find very good support once you get the courage and take that step. You could say that you are experiencing high levels of anxiety that are undermining your quality of life - it's important to be honest with your GP so that s/he will know which anti-depressant to prescribe to address your symptoms.

NiceAcorn Wed 21-Sep-11 20:50:28

Hello again.
I just had panic attack over my error. Hyperventilated etc. I phoned my partner (who is also a co-owner of the company I work for, so any error affects him via the business too) and confessed what had happened and what I had done.

He was very understanding, said it was OK and that it wasn't major and would OK to deal with. I hate to burden him, am always worried about being considered to recieve "special treatment" ( I don't, quite the reverse actually, which I agree with) but do feel better for telling him. He is very, very good at what we do and I trust his judgment on work matters totally.

Talking to you here has made me realise these feelings of guilt go back to childhood. Not constantly, but whenever I do something wrong. Maybe I'll see if I can get a doctors appointment for my next day off. I really am thinking about it.

Thank you all again for your kind words, comments and suggestions. It is so very nice to talk to you all so honestly about what's in my head and my mixed up feelings regarding my beliefs.

springydaffs Wed 21-Sep-11 21:28:19

great - glad you got the thorn out Acorn! though a horrid way for it to happen and, yes, maybe this is a wakeup call to address an erroneous belief(s?) that got embedded in you when you were a child. You have posted on the religion board so I assume this is where or how the damage was done. Join the club! I've had a lot of screwy religious stuff stuck on the inside of me and have had counselling to uncover it and wave it off! God is good you know Acorn, so kind and loving and doesn't condemn or crush with guilt, ime that's just not his way - he doesn't do that horrible 'you are so bad' thing.

Well done for getting to the GP. Some practices have a checklist you can fill out if you find it difficult to put into words, or don't know where to start (actually, if you said to the GP you don't know where to start s/he should recognise that and be listening intently) (hug)

BelleEnd Thu 22-Sep-11 07:55:43

Hope you're okay OP. I'm glad you told your DP- I think things can get blown out of all proportion in our minds when we don't have anyone to talk them over with. Add to that being a worrier by nature (as I am!) and it can make you feel bad.

I had massive guilt for the way I treated someone when I was a teenager, and I was really, really horrible. It gnawed on me for years, and about five years ago, I contacted him and apologized. He was great about it and didn't think it was a big deal- I think all those years had magnified my own badness in my eyes and it was such a relief to say sorry.

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