Posted in Life

Notes to Strangers: addiction to shittiness?

There is a plethora of toxic relationship dynamics that, if gone unaddressed, can become normalized. This dynamic can essentially rewire perception, reality, and world view dramatically. Although, it is clear it is unhealthy, it is still accepted. This can become very dangerous because when a healthy person comes along offering healthy unconditional love, it can be rejected as boring – or perceived as there is something wrong with the healthy person because they are giving love, attention, support and loyalty without requiring a long journey through hell walking barefoot across broken glass and hot coals.

The more one suffers does not demonstrate how much one cares. While there are sacrafices to be made in relationship dynamics, suffering and putting up with shitty behavior does not validate the love for another. Love is supposed to be enjoyed, not endured. Naturally, challenges will come along but if the entire relationship dynamic is an incessant challenge, then… what is the fight really about? Is it that there is a compulsary attraction to the relationship and all the negativity that comes with it?

Posted in Life

What I have learned in 365 days

We are already three months into 2021 and when I look back, it is crystal clear that I am not the same person I was back in March of 2020.   Enduring the past 365 days with all its trials and tribulations was not easy for anyone.  Although it seems like a decade has passed, along with it, is a world view I had not given much thought too and the short list of gratitude that I had.  Challenges abounded at every turn both intrinsically and extrinsically.  There was no area that was not left shrouded in the cloak of mundane responsibilities or the platitude of “there aren’t enough hours in a day.”  Gradually, hours became days… for many of us, it seemed as though we had time on tap.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We had time to think about all things we wanted to do but never did.  We had time to think about the things we wanted to say but never said.  We had time to think about all the things we do for the sake of doing them.  We had time evaluate whether we are living up to our potential. We had time to contemplate our purpose. We had time to inspect all the cracks that began to show in our relationships and motivations.

With that in mind, as we gallop toward reopening, I find myself contemplating how I will reallocate my time.  I find myself thinking about what matters most and being mindful of squandering my time for fruitless outcomes that ultimately make me feel unpleasant and drained.  I find myself making concrete plans to do the things I always wanted to do as opposed to thinking of these things as abstract ideas that hypothetically take place in the obscure future.  I find myself looking at the time that I have as the most cosmically valuable asset and intent to invest it in ways that will mature my well being and those around me – mind, body and spirit.

Posted in Life

Alpha! Alpha! Alpha!

Despite our longings to break out of categories and labels, we find ourselves circling back to self identifying or boxing ourselves into a “type” or characteristic trope. More often, we aim to be the most overused type or trope, thus, abandoning our own unique qualities that may be attributed to another. Such is the case with the Alpha personality. One can be a leader, a go getter and a tough contender despite not being an “Alpha” personality.

Many identify themselves as Alpha personalities. Although some may display such traits, they may not necessarily be Alpha personalities as there are more than just Alpha personalities or Beta personalities. Neither personality is better than the other.

Each personality has its positive attributes that are unique, valuable, and essential to their social spheres. Each stand out respectively. Whatever your characteristic attributes may be, accentuate them. Hone your attributes – all of them. Not just the ones that fit into a desired type or characteristic trope.

Posted in Life

Notes to Strangers: Looking Back

Ever look back and say, “WTF?”  As time passes, we don’t realize how much we deal with or are going through as we are going through it.  Coming out on the other side after having been through so much seems like just another day, when in fact, it is post completion of an obstacle course of trials and tribulations that require intensive mental and emotional gymnastics to conquer with very little time (if any) to process it all.

What better time than now, to look back and say, “Wow, I’m still here.  Thank you, God?”  Life’s kinks, twists, and turns require a perseverance, resilience, and strength that many of us do not realize we have.  Even after it’s over and the dust settles, it may seem surreal.  It may seem like it wasn’t you; but lo and behold, it was you amidst the vulnerability, uncertainty, and fear.  Despite the adversity, you overcame.  You are here now.  That is something to feel good about. Way to go, you tough cookie, you!

Posted in Life

Unforgiveness: Purloiner of the Heart and Soul

In relationships, arguments and fall outs are inevitable. People we love may not be likable all the time. Seeing that love is a verb and sometimes requires action that include but are not limited to: compromise, understanding, patience, communication, and forgiveness … the latter can be either what nourishes relationship vitality, the lethal blow that severs the relationship, or twisting knife that perpetuates a toxic dynamic.

Unforgiveness is interesting because it is often misconstrued as a character trait. It can also be misconstrued as being strong. In actuality, unforgiveness is the worm at the core of the soul. It is an emotional parasite that syphons our life force. It is parasitic in nature because it takes a lot of energy to maintain while it purloins precious time that can never be recovered.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

How does unforgiveness manifest? How does it grab a hold of us? This excerpt so eloquently sums it up: “many people who have been hurt feel insignificant and powerless; therefore, they try to get their need for significance met by withholding forgiveness. Unforgiveness gives them a sense of power and superiority. If you were ever betrayed by a friend, for a time you may have felt powerless to stop the pain.”June Hunt

Time does heal, if you allow it; but the tricky thing about unforgiveness is that it requires us to relive the trauma that caused it. It creates a negative feedback loop that we subscribe to and if gone unaddressed, it can lead to bitterness. Bitterness, over time, becomes the norm and can be quite oppressive hindering the ability to thrive in life. While it may seem as though it is harder to forgive and let go, on the contrary, it takes more energy to hang on to the transgression because holding on to the transgression requires fuel. It requires the long painful trip down memory lane and reignition of that initial hurt.

How do we STOP the pain?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Forgiving, much like love, is a verb. The pain must first be addressed irregardless of having received an apology. Making peace with the past, and recognizing that what transpired is in the rearview, and choosing to move forward and focus on today is paramount. It is a personal choice to choose the here and now and rebuke what happened because nothing can change the past. It is a personal choice to choose to take control of the here and the now and seek to bind up the emotional wounds. In making these decisions, we empower ourselves to be able to look at the situation through the scope of our current selves ; With what we know now versus what we knew then, the perspective will be quite distinct from our former selves – and that is a start!

Posted in Life

Notes to Friends: You’re Doing Great

2020 has been quite the wild card of epic proportions.  This year forced every single one of us outside our comfort zone.  Many of us had to learn to adapt in situations that were completely out of our hands.  We had to have faith.  We had to trust the process. 

Lots of blood, sweat, and tears were shed.   We had to keep moving forward despite the tremendous amount of anxiety and fear.  We may not be completely out of the woods, but we are, in fact, still here.  It was raw: going back to the basics, and being reminded of what we have and what matters most to us in this world; feeling more connected than ever despite having to remain 6 feet apart.  

2020 forced us to take a long hard look at our lives as we know it and ask ourselves if we like what we see.  The shutdown made it so that many of us had nothing to do but answer the question.  And here were are with 64 days left.  That is 1602 hours, to be exact.

I just want to say to you, friends:

You are doing extremely well persevering through uncertainty, adversity, challenges and sometimes dark moments. You are extremely strong and I’m thankful for you. Whatever lies ahead, you will get through it just the same way you got here!

Posted in Life

Taking Responsibility: The Plank In Our Own Eyes

Being hurt by a loved one or someone we care about is inevitable. When we feel slighted or emotional about a situation, we come from a place of hurt. We defend our feelings and indignation without being able to see the situation at hand and how we arrived to this point. It becomes difficult to acknowledge the side of the party that hurt us and the part we may have played in the situation because, by acknowledging the other side, we feel somehow it may devalue our pain some how. This is not true.

If we truly care about someone who hurt us, it is important to take the time to try to understand how the situation came to pass. Trying to understand the situation and how it came to pass does not necessarily mean taking full responsibility for what happened. It is identifying the key components that contributed to the outcome.

Taking responsibility for our contribution to the situation can open a dialogue that can possibly facilitate and understanding where as the conflict can not only be resolved but wounds can heal with the knowledge that all parties will make a concerted effort not to repeat the situation. Of course, it’s easier said that done, but getting familiar with removing these planks from our own eyes, help cement the relationships that we value most.

We all have our own planks obstructing our ability to see clearly in many situations when it comes to how we interact with others and our relationship dynamics, but with cause and effect, we must realize that before we address how someone behaves toward us, or how they have hurt us, we must examine ourselves. If we still cannot quite understand others’ point of view, then we must put our pride aside and be brave enough to address it with that person – not others. Go straight to the source, and be open enough to listen and receive what the other party has to say regardless of whether we may agree. If we ask someone why they had done something, we must hear them out and not devalue their thoughts and feelings by trying to defend our pain.

Taking responsibility requires the abandonment of our pride, excuses, and need to be right. Nothing loving, positive and fruitful can come from the planks of pride, excuses, and the need to be right.

Thank you for stopping by.

Posted in Life

The Path of Introspection: road least traveled

in·tro·spec·tion/ˌintrəˈspekSH(ə)n/ Learn to pronounce nounnoun: introspection; plural noun: introspections

  1. the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes. “quiet introspection can be extremely valuable”

The road least traveled is the road into our hearts and minds. Perhaps just as frightening as public speaking, it’s often avoided until we cannot anymore; by that time, we are usually in our twilight years taking inventory of our lives and the impact and purpose that we had throughout or, it could be onset by the death of someone significant that had a huge impact on our identity.

The road can be rocky because along it may be things that we chose not to think about or we may find wounds that had not completely healed. Revisiting these experiences or emotions seem scary because the possibility of having to feel how we felt way back when could be likely. Because of this, we go on in our daily lives living it and ignoring the path. Truth is, when we do this, these experiences and unhealed wounds influence and bleed into our daily lives and relationships. We do things subconsciously to pivot away from feeling or experiencing these things. Many times, how we pivot away is what causes disruption and conflict in our lives. The more we try to avoid pain, disruption, and conflict, the more we bring it about.

The journey of introspection is the most important journey in life.

Whatever it is that we are ignoring or hiding from finds a sneaky way of veering its hideous head in multiple aspects of our lives. This concept isn’t new, but definitely provokes thought; especially if you are interested in growing and evolving. When I think about the path of introspection, I think it is a way to find your whole self. It’s an introduction to aspects of ourselves that need some attention/integration into who we are now. The answers of why we do the things we do are found there. It’s what navigates us through life and the sea of emotions, reactions, and distractions that come with life.

The best thing about the path of introspection, is that we will find a beacon of light and a new understanding of ourselves, where we are, our place in this world and where we want to be or go. Things begin to unfold for us in ways that had not happened before. Gaining understanding of who we are and what we want out of life is a crucial part of the trajectory of our live. As much as it scares us, it is the most valuable journey we will ever take.

Take the path of introspection as many times as you need. Get to know yourself and heal yourself. Purge what’s no longer needed and merge what’s necessary to empower you and make you the best you that you can be.

Posted in Life

Self-care Misconception

Self-care, me time, being selfish: all have very negative connotations; ironically, these negative connotations resonate with those who need it most. Most of us have never learned the sweet spot within the bounds of the selflessness/selfishness continuum and therefore fall somewhere outside of the healthy parameters.

Being out of Bounds

People of a giving and nurturing nature tend to be out of bounds when it comes to the selflessness/selfishness continuum. Why? because of their aversion to selfishness. Perhaps the concept of selfishness may inspire feelings of guilt, or feelings of rejection. It may be a concept that is just completely foreign due to cultural mores that have shaped an individual. Whatever the root of the aversion may be, it can pose a serious health risk (mental, physical, emotional – all of the above).

Continually giving and nurturing without replenishing can have devastating effects, like for example:

  • Stress
  • Decreased Immune System
  • Triggering of Underlying Health Conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Depression/Irritability

These symptoms are all interdependent. When we run on fumes doing what we do, our stress level increases, which over produces hormones like Cortisol – which, in turn, lowers the threshold of our immune system and triggering underlying health issues like: blood pressure, gastric flare ups, migraines, and fatigue. Stress can keep us up at night and if we are awake, our body is not getting sufficient rest needed to strengthen the immune system. Feeling yucky gives us a yucky attitude which is the perfect breeding ground for strife with all who come in contact with us. It’s a vicious cycle and bumpy ride that can go on for years until we reach the point of no return with our health. It is crucial to make sure we are not on this runaway train.

 

Is selfishness a bad thing?

Definition of selfish

1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others 2 : arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.

Notice how self-care is no where mentioned in this definition. Why? Because caring for yourself and being selfish are not the same thing! This is a major misconception that inspires all sorts of feelings that avert us from taking care of ourselves. I encourage you all to research for yourselves What Self-Care Is – and What it Isn’t.

 

Caring for self

I could provide a list from 1-10 on how to start caring for yourself, but instead, I will invoke the tried and true K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Simple Stupid. Start small by listening to your body and getting rest by avoiding collapsing into bed and making sleep a priority and before you do anything, have the same exact conversation that you would with someone you love. If you’re about to do something that you would advise your loved one not to do because they have been “burning the candle at both ends,” then don’t do it. Treat yourself as well as you treat your loved ones. If you need a starting point on how to construct a self-care routine, you can start here 14 Tips for Creating a Self-Care Routine to Nourish Your Body and Soul.

 

Posted in Life

Squandered Love?

When a relationship has run its course, the cracks begin to show along with all the energy spent filling the cracks and/or over looking them.  When the relationship comes to an end, it can leave one person feeling as though they may have wasted their time, energy and love on the other because the relationship wasn’t successful.

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Is love ever truly wasted?

We only love as we know how.  We love the way we were taught to love.  Everyone’s experience is different and therefore, love, as a verb (the act of love), is subjective to a degree.  Because love can be subjective, it can cause a great amount of frustration in a relationship and can leave people feeling unloved because the love isn’t reciprocated in the same way it is given.  Simply put:  it’s like waiting for a ship to arrive at an airport.

If you can relate, take The 5 Love Languages Quiz click here.  It will give you an idea of the love language you have.  It can help bridge the gap and fill in those cracks.  At the very least, it can give you a better idea of how you express your feelings through your actions and gain insight on how other loved ones express theirs.

Unstated norms?

Norms – also subjective.  Many of us have this haphazard notion that once we put a label on it, and the status of the relationship changes, our significant other will somehow transform into that ideal of what we believe a relationship partner should look like and act like; moreover, we expect our significant other to just assume the responsibility of making us happy, keeping us happy, and constantly giving us what we want.  It’s a myopic relationship paradigm that frustrates happiness to no end.

A myopic relationship paradigm coupled with convoluted love language equals a devastating deficit when the bottom drops out of relationship.

Why isn’t that a waste?

When a relationship doesn’t work – it hurts – no matter what.  No one enters any relationship expecting it to fail – even when it’s painfully obvious the relationship is not working.

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It is similar to a gambler who keeps losing, but bets bigger each hand in hopes to winning the jackpot.  Why do we do this?  It’s because love hopes all things.  Love and hope go hand in hand.  Where there is one, the other is not far off.  The capacity to feel and express such complex emotions is a blessing within itself.  Relationships are risky and are essentially no different from gambling – that’s true.  If anything, the experience, albeit painful, provides personal growth and ultimately demonstrates the inner strength and resilience we would not otherwise have known existed.  That is never a waste.