Flourish

The weeks are zooming by. There’s only two left until Easter and the day I take my three children to France, alone.

I’m really excited about showing them France and about spending time with them without distractions.

I’m petrified about the airport and driving abroad, neither of which I have even done without another adult or at all in the case of the driving.

I certainly don’t regret the decision. Since Dad died, I’m more focused on creating memories with my children. If the memory is mum getting arrested for driving on the wrong side of road, we’ll so-be-it.😁

In essence, I’m trying to fill a massive Dad shaped void in my life. All year I’ve been booking trips and days out and it has helped. I’m doing things I enjoy, things that distract.

I’m the final weeks of Dad’s life, when he was in hospital, my sisters and I were leaving the hospital and stopped at the pay station to pay our parking. On top of the machine was a book, brand new.

There was no one around who could have left this book (we were leaving late at night) and no volunteers on the help desk to hand it to. We decided to take it with us, in order to hand it in when we came in the next day. All good intentions.

I hope whoever forgot their book that day forgives me for not handing it in. It wasn’t intentional. I can’t remember exactly why I didn’t, my only excuse being that my Dad was dying – my head was not thinking of much else.

Nine months later and I have started to read the book.

The book is about using positive psychology to help patients with depression and anxiety overcome their negative thinking patterns. It couldn’t have been more relevant to me unless God had handed it me himself.

I’m only a few chapters in so far and it has been interesting. It gives you exercises to try and a link to their website where you can take free questionnaires/assessments. I have taken the rather long but intriguing personality test which revealed things that I didn’t expect but completely now understand. (The idea is that if you do more activities which use these signature strengths, you will be happier).

I expected creativity to be pretty high in my personality list. I write, craft, bake and design cakes, make learning resources and lessons etc..It wasn’t.

Top of my list:

When I initially got the results I didn’t think the top one was right. I mean, that is me, but at the top?

Thinking about it (yes, I know there is irony there) it is very much me. I need to think things through from all angles before I make a decision. When I haven’t thought things through, I get a real sense of uneasiness. When I have and a decision is made, I get a eureka moment or epiphany. This blog is full of them. This blog is me thinking: I start with an idea of something I want to write about and work through, and the act of writing often helps me work it out. I never know what I’m going to write exactly.

Two is not wholly unexpected. It is evident in my love of art and music and my obsession with the outdoors – trees and mountains and lakes. Maybe this is why the Lake District appeals to me so much – it activates a signature strength therefore makes me feel happy and content.

Three – my motto in life is ‘treat people how you would expect to be treated yourself’. Pretty significant, I would say. My job in leading behaviour in school makes sense too. It’s not the role I ultimately wanted but I don’t hate it.

Four – yep. I loved being a Head of Department, and only wanted a promotion when I felt that I was no longer needed: my department was running like clockwork and had developed into a strong entity. I wanted a challenge and so applied for senior leadership. Ironically, I haven’t had the same satisfaction in this role. I don’t have a team to lead and so this may explain why I feel so isolated at times. It also explains why I have used working parties so many times as I have planned and changed strategies.

And five? Well, I’m a teacher. Says it all really. As a teacher, you are constantly learning and developing yourself to teach better. I love teaching my pupils. And, I also have a long list of things that I want to learn – photography, landscape painting, piano, another language. I’d go back to Uni in a heartbeat; to learn the modules I was unable to choose the first time. I need to make time to learn things.

So, to make myself happier, I need to plan more opportunities to use these strengths.

The other activity that I have used and have found helpful, is the ‘What went well’ log. We use ‘What went well’ (WWW) in school regularly. Pupils reflect on their learning and staff reflect on their teaching – it’s a familiar concept.

I’ve tried positivity logs before and I ran out of steam. The previous one was a ‘thankful log’. There’s only so many times you can write about being thankful for family and friends, health, wealth and opportunities.

The WWW log makes me thi k about my day. Sure, sometimes I struggle to find three but I work on it, think about it and I always do get three. I have downloaded an App on my phone to log them easily and this enables me to look back. In time I will analyse what I’m writing, using a signature strength of course.

This book is helping me. I’d like to think it was fate that we found it. I also like the idea that someone may have left the book there on purpose for someone else to use. (I doubt it as the book was brand new and still had the amazon receipt in).

Either way, my plan is to buy another copy of this book and leave it somewhere in the hope that fate will lead someone else to finding it and using it. In a sense, that’s what I have done here on this blog.

I will update when I have read and used more. Happy reading!

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