I have recently joined Gaia which is this new age type website that covers all kind of topics from yoga and meditation, law off attraction, power of positive thinking, and nutrition and health among many other interesting topics. After working many years in holistic healthcare with a chiropractic office I am obviously a big believer that you truly are what you eat. This video is well worth watching because it not only addresses the problem with over-medicating our population but also gives hope with a safe alternative of orthomolecular therapy.
I have recently had the privilege of reading interviews and progress notes pertaining to rehabilitation programs. A consistent theme with many individuals is guilt or shame about the past. Often the guilt or shame comes from events they really had no control over, but it just eats away at them. In the negative environment often the easiest available relief from the guilt and shame is to escape through drugs and/or alcohol. Abuse, neglect, lies, cheating, tragic loss, are the most common reasons for such deep pain. In a perfect world we would understand that each day is a new day and a chance to be different, but often we feel change is not possible because the past defines who we are and therefore defines our future. So the shame of past dirty deeds follow us around, making us believe it is simply too hard and we are not strong enough. Shame, guilt, anger, fear, hurt…all of these negative feelings keep us trapped in a dark place. If we stay in that dark place long enough we actually identify with it, accept it, and the thought of moving passed it is unimaginable.
The idea of letting go of everything we have ever known about the world and ourselves can be a very scary process. Some individuals are in denial of what is really happening, they do not see how their choices are affecting themselves and those around them. Obviously the first step is no longer denying the truth, but instead, facing it head-on. We must be brutally honest with ourselves. If you have been abusive to others, a cheater, told lies, just purge it all. Lay every dirty deed out on the table that you have committed on yourself and to others. Then find it within yourself to forgive yourself. Admitting your wrong doings to yourself and out loud to those you have treated badly can be very humbling and also freeing. Some may accept your truth and your apology and others may tell you to get lost. The point is not what others think of you, but the fact that you are owning it, taking responsibility and at the end of the day what really matters is what you think of yourself. If you truly speak from the heart and let it all out, letting the denial, anger, hate, mistrust and all the other negative feelings go, then you will begin to feel free and know in your heart that today really is a new day.
The second step to admitting the truth is acknowledge what others have done to you. Those who have abused you, lied to you or cheated on you, even those who left or died in some tragic way. You have to let go of that anger and hurt and forgive those individuals as well. This also means not taking the blame on yourself for what others have done to you and no longer using what others have done to you as excuse to continue living your life in a unhealthy way. Being honest and offering forgiveness are the keys to freedom from the negative emotions and the first step to letting go of the past so that you can move forward.
Once you have spoke your truth and forgiven yourself and others, you can re-evaluate and take inventory of your current circumstances. Where are you in the important areas of your life? Do you have a family, a job, a home, an education, a spiritual connection or faith in a higher power? If you have done enough damage to be without all of these things then you can start at the basics and build yourself back up. This will not be easy but the process is very rewarding. I have watched individuals complete a GED, enroll in college, get a job, an apartment, start going to church and build a support system, and eventually rekindle positive relationships with children and other family members. The truth is you have to start with yourself and learn to be alone first. This process is the hardest because being alone can lead to temptation to revert back to the old ways of thinking and unhealthy habits. You cannot force yourself back into others lives. Some may never forgive you and that is their choice. Be willing to keep moving forward and forgive them for not forgiving you. Have your own back, because if you don’t love yourself you will continue to allow yourself to be put in bad situations and make bad choices. This process can involve letting go of unhealthy relationships that may not support your goals.
Letting go of all the negative and toxic relationships, thoughts, beliefs and ideas about yourself and the world around you is very therapeutic, but sometimes easier said than done. Individuals may relocate in order to start all over and remove themselves from toxic environments. It may sound extreme, but sometimes it is the only way to reclaim health and happiness. It is not about the past anymore and the future does not really matter, it is the present moment that really matters. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, start speaking your truth, apologize, forgive and re-evaluate your current circumstances and most of all be grateful for having each new day. The truth really will set you free.
With freedom, forgiveness, truth and love
If there is one thing I have learned in life it is that perspective is everything. How you choose to apply situations and other peoples words and attitudes in any given moment can make or break you. When a string of negative events occur, like you stub your toe on the way to the bathroom as soon as you get out of bed, then you spill your coffee in the car on the way to work…we can easily think “it’s going to be a craptastic day and I should go back to bed”. The key is to not let 2 negative events ruin your whole day. Just like you should refuse to allow one ‘Negative Nancy’ making a negative comment to you not ruin your day. The attitude you take on in those moments will determine what comes your way next. If you handle each moment with grace and humility, choosing not to let it get you down, then you will see a change for the better. How you choose to respond to life can change your life.
Don’t take it personal. I cannot say this enough, especially to my teenage daughter! Nothing in life is really a personal attack on you. The universe or God is not trying to punish you for something when you have a bad day. If you stub your toe and spill your coffee, maybe you are just meant to slow down and enjoy the morning and stop rushing through your day. That is a lot better perspective than just assuming the whole day is ruined. Learning to find a positive spin in every situation is a great practice. Being able to take what could be seen as a lemon of a day and turn it into lemonade can be very refreshing!
Don’t get stuck in other people’s thoughts and emotions about you. Other people may lash out in anger or jealousy, maybe even guilt or shame, towards you at different points in your life. It is good to take responsibility for your part, but understand the difference between owning your own mistakes and taking on others negativity. You know where you stand on morals, values, beliefs, and if someone tries to label you it says more about who they are than it does you. Let those words roll off like water and stand strong in knowing who you are.
Be more of a listener and observer than a talker. God gave us two ears and two eyes and only one mouth. I think that is because he wanted us to listen and observe more than he wanted us to run our mouth. Your perspective of others can change when you listen and observe the world around you instead of just going through your day on auto-pilot. Watch how others behave and the words they speak of others, this will give you a lot of insight into who the person really is. This will also make you more aware of yourself and what you may be putting out into the world for others to hear and see about you. People find it so easy to spew nasty comments on social media or through text messages instead of looking someone in the eye. Many do not realize, these quick and often thoughtless comments say a lot about a person and can be more damaging to them than to the person they are talking to or about.
Practice Privacy. I know at first this may seem like an odd suggestion when it comes to perspective but keeping your life private to some degree can create a different perspective for you and others. When you are in a relationship with the love of your life I believe there is a special intimacy that should be kept just between the two of you. You don’t need to share every detail to your friends or post every bouquet of flowers on social media. This need to advertise our “perfect” life or relationship and create a perspective to others that we are always living the dream is exhausting. When you share a special moment or a private joke with a parent, friend, or lover just keep it for yourself. You don’t have to post every picture taken on your vacation to the Bahamas. Keeping certain parts of your life sacred can create a tighter bond with those you are really sharing it with. When others do not know details of your relationships then they cannot have an input, which is sometimes a really good thing. If you want authentic relationships then don’t advertise them and open yourself to the opinions of others.
You Are Flawed. I often ask myself what I can be doing better. When I hear my boyfriend talk about his employees I find myself wondering if I do those positive or negative things he points out. The truth is we all have room for improvement and we can all learn something from others. You never want to think you are the best and the brightest in the room. There is a difference between confidence and being full of yourself. If you always have to get the last word or always be right, if you need others to agree with you or you assume if they don’t they are wrong and they are stupid….well then you are most likely the one with the problem. Be willing to really listen, put yourself in other peoples shoes and treat others how you want to be treated. Everyone has a different story, all of us are unique and have reasons for why we think, feel and believe the way we do and no one is perfect. Coming from a perspective of an open heart as well as an open mind can be life changing.
With love, health and positive perspectives on life,
The world around us seems to be consumed with time. Every day we are all on a schedule from what time we get up, eat, go to work, get off work, and sleep again. This process day after day can eventually make us feel like we are all just a bunch of hamsters on a wheel. We think of the past and may have thoughts of guilt, shame or hurt, and we carry those negative thoughts and feelings with us. We think of the future and we may constantly be working towards a future goal of a better job, nicer home, a new car, a great relationship, or more money in the bank. When we tend to be consumed with thoughts of the past or goals for the future we rush through the only thing that is really important…the present moment.
Time is just an illusion and a tool to help us through our day to day lives; it is not meant to be the controlling or key factor that our lives revolve around. We should not fear time or race against time or wish for more time but instead simply embrace the now. So how can you move your thought process more into the present? How can we practice becoming more conscious and appreciative of where we are right now instead of worrying about the past or the future? Well I will list my top five practices that can help you get started and lead you to a life that is free from the worry associated with time.
Meditation: Many people I know struggle to be alone and would really struggle with the idea of spending time alone and quiet with themselves. However, one of the best ways to really learn about yourself and the world around you is to learn to be alone and get silent. Quiet time for prayer and meditation is one of the most important tools to bring a person into the present moment fully. Being able to sit comfortably in your home, with no distractions like TV or radio, and just take in the feelings within your body. Breath deep in and out a few times and just listen to the sounds around you, smell the room, be aware of how your body feels, do you feel stress or tension in some areas of your body? As you sit and allow yourself to be fully aware of that moment you can choose to focus on something certain that you desire or you can just enjoy the practice of being fully in the now. You do not have to be home alone in order to do this process. I have instructed my daughter to use this tool anywhere, especially when she is having a day where she is feeling overwhelmed or anxious. At your desk you can just take a moment to stop and take in the sounds, sights and smells of the room around you and ask yourself how you are feeling right in that moment. Doing this a few times a day is like hitting the reset button and simply brings you back to yourself, pulling you away from worries about the past or what you need to do for the future. Just focus on what you can do right now.
Finding Joy in Solitude: Bringing yourself into the present and become more conscious and self aware while finding something you enjoy and doing it alone. Solitude is key in the process of knowing thy self. If you like to write, paint, go hiking, do yoga, sing….whatever it is that you really enjoy; practice doing it alone and be fully in the moment with no distractions. Pay attention to how your body feels and the sights and smells and what you hear just like you would when you are meditating. I know people who love to read and take time each morning to read from the bible and then they meditate on the scripture before they start each day. This combines the enjoyment of reading Gods word with the power of meditation and prayer and can be a very positive and powerful way to start the day.
A Motto or Mantra for Your Life: Sometimes we can get so busy and lives get chaotic with work, kids, friends, family and life that we lose track of what our personal goals are in life. It is good to stop and refocus and re-evaluate life every now and then. It is easy to refocus when you have a mantra that you repeat to yourself that is easy to remember. When I feel chaos in my life and things are getting too hard I remind myself of my mantras, ‘money comes easily and often’ and ‘love starts within’. These two mantras were created because I struggle with remembering that money is not elusive and hard to come by like I was taught by my parents. The second one is to remind me that what I think about myself will set the tone for how another see and treat me. When struggling financially or feeling insecure in a relationship the negative thinking can creep in and that is when it is good to refocus and repeat your mantras. Bad experiences or negative thought patterns from our past can creep into our lives now and cause problems that do not apply to the now, use mantras as a tool to remind yourself that you have learned from the past and will be better now. Repeating your mantras can be a nice focus tool during meditation as well.
Feed the Body & Rest the Soul: Now we get into a little deeper idea for the now that will affect your body inside and out. There are two things we do everyday, or we should, and that is eat and sleep. These are two of the most important things we will do in our lives and they will affect us on many levels. When, where, what, how and with whom you choose to do them is very important. Eat when you are hungry and only until you are satisfied, do not over-indulge. Choose food that will nourish your body and make sure you give thanks for the food and the nourishment the food will provide for your body. Focus on how the food will affect your body in a positive way. If you believe the food will not affect your body in a positive way then you will be right and that is where negative effects like weight gain will occur. Do not rush through meals, do not stand or drive while eating meals, do not watch TV while eating. Give your meal the respect it deserves because you are what you eat. Do not eat a meal with someone who causes you negative feelings about yourself or life in general. Negativity while eating will lead to disease in the body and possible overeating or nervous stomach. Eating in a positive and loving environment with family and friends and saying grace before and thank you after a meal is enjoyed is the best and most healthy way to eat. The same with sleep, do not allow yourself to sleep too much or too little because both can cause health issues. If you find you are tired all the time you need to ask yourself why, could there be signs of depression or other health issues are you not giving yourself a heathy amount of sleep? Give yourself a peaceful and comfortable place to sleep each night with no distractions of electronics. Make sure if you have a sleeping partner that you share a moment of appreciation and love with that person before you go to bed each night. I think most of us have heard the wise words, never go to bed mad at one another, and those are very wise words to live by. Being completely focused on your body and the food when eating and completely focused on your body and the peaceful and positive mantras you have set for yourself as you go to sleep each night can be life changing for your mind and health.
Give Thanks & Show Gratitude: The most important tool for keeping yourself in the now and fully conscious is to be thankful. Be thankful for who you are, where you are in life, what you have right now and who you have in your life. To be truly grateful in life right in the moment is a great way to bring more greatness into your life. If we are overly focused on what we don’t have or what we want in the future without ever acknowledging all the wonderful things we are blessed with in the present moment, then we will continue to struggle for the elusive thing we call happiness. To be truly happy is to be content with exactly who we are and what we have and where we are in this very moment.
These basic tools are the foundation of a happy and healthy life that will help you practice each day to be in the now and lead to a happier, healthier peace within you. Always remember to choose love over hate. Our actions, words, thoughts and beliefs reflect who we are and what we attract into our lives…keep it positive and from a place of love and respect and the world will bring more love and respect into your life.
With love, health and happiness right now…
I am a big promoter of constantly asking what can be learned from every situation, good or bad. I think if you can take a step back from each situation and reflect you can always find something gained, strength, knowledge, a deeper insight into life or yourself. So when I encounter an individual who seems to be blind to obvious learning opportunities or valuable advice is given to them over and over by multiple wise individuals and they choose to ignore it, I am amazed. I have encountered two individuals in my life who light a fire within me that is a mix of frustration, confusion, intrigue and shock at how they choose to live their lives. I have tried to advise and help both of these women and realize that denial is a soul sucking and knowledge draining leach on some individuals. I think when people refuse to see the obvious it is most likely because they are in denial and lying to themselves because of insecurity, guilt or shame.
The first person I think of is a woman in her fifties who has a skin disease that causes her some pain and discomfort, but is somewhat controlled by medication. She is also looking for a job to relocate closer to family. These are two very separate situations but how she chooses to handle them is very much the same. She is a smoker, doesn’t really exercise and her diet is not great either. Yet, she constantly complains about her disease and asks me for advice about natural remedies to help with the symptoms. Her doctor has already told her to quit smoking because it will help her meds work better and may even put the disease in remission, but she just chooses to ignore that suggestion and ask me for alternative advice. She did not graduate high school and needs to complete her GED. I have given her the location and information to do this, but she ignores this information and just continues to apply for jobs that require being a high school graduate or having your GED in hopes that they will make an exception. Why? Why ask for more advice when you refuse to take the valuable advice already given to you?
Then I have a friend in her late forties who has been cheated on by her last 2 boyfriends and not even two months after breaking up with the last one she is already practically living with another guy. She skips from one guy to the next and gets involved so quickly and even when she sees warning signs of issues she ignores them because she is just so desperate to have someone. I remind her of similar situations in her past and how she said she would be different next time, but she chooses to ignore it. She will try to explain to me how this time is different. Why is she repeating the same mistakes over and over and hoping for different results? Why call me and ask to be a reference on an apartment or a job or ask advice about relationships if you are going to ignore it?
These are two examples of women in my personal life that need counseling and may not realize it. They are in denial but do they know they are in denial? Are they just stubborn and refuse to admit that what is wise is not what they want in the moment? Do they really not know the best way to handle the situation or is doing the wise thing too hard and they are just too lazy or weak to even try? What happened to them in their life to make them ask for advice over and over but never act upon it? Do they just enjoy talking about their problems and having attention on them? If they actually take the correct advice and apply it and it works then they won’t have the problem anymore and then the attention they received will no longer be an option. I think this could be the issue for my first case study. However, I think the second one is a bit more complicated.
I believe the first case study simply does not want to change her habits, she is looking for the magic pill to heal her. She is too lazy to go back to school, change her diet, exercise or quit smoking. That would require too much effort from her. She would much prefer to collect disability than try to better herself. Yes this attitude infuriates me and unfortunately I see it all too often.
Then case study number two is a classic case of can’t be alone with a twist of competitive spirit. I catch her in weird little lies or half-truths a lot because I think a part of her is in competition with me. She wants me to think she is getting a great apartment or a really great paying job or going back to school or getting married and buying a house with the current boyfriend, but none of it ever seems to actually happen. I do believe she could possibly be diagnosed with a personality disorder and not just simple laziness. She asks for advice about the same things over and over, things that should be obvious to her by now. She repeats the same relationship over and over, just a different guy each time. Yet, when I point out the similarities she seems surprised at how right I am, but then still chooses to ignore all the red flags and continues to move forward. Yes, she openly admits I am right but does nothing about it. Then I don’t hear from her again for a while and randomly she will contact me and tell me how great everything is but it is over-the-top great and usually later I discover that its not as wonderful as she has made it out to be. Some time will pass and she will contact me again to tell me problems and ask for more advice, often problems that are identical to past issues. I will point out similarities again, she will agree and say she understands. The next time we talk she will try to paint the picture that everything is great when I know it is not. This cycle will repeat until the guy cheats on her and the relationship dissolves and she is broken hearted, saying she is fool and frustrated that she invested so much time into another bad guy. I just think, you didn’t have to invest all that time and effort if you would not have ignored the signs and listened to my advice the first time.
Maybe I am the crazy one for trying to advise these women over and over, but this is also why I chose to complete my education in counseling. I want to learn ways to help people see the error in the way they think and confront themselves. If you cannot be honest with yourself then you will not be able to be honest with anyone. If you are not learning from past experiences and you find yourself in the same situation more than once, then it is time to seriously re-evaluate and make some hard changes. Yes, I said hard. It is never easy to make real change, especially when you have been doing things the same way for years. But with real change comes real opportunity for real results. I am not going to be a hand holding counselor. I will confront you and challenge you to look at the ugliest parts of yourself and you may not like what you see. You may not like me for forcing you to acknowledge those parts of yourself, but the truth is, we all have those parts of us. The insecurities, shame, guilt and just feeling like a failure in some areas of life. If you don’t confront those faults within your character you will never grow to your full potential. A stagnant or immature soul is an unfulfilled soul which leads to unhappy relationships, depression and even suicide.
It may sound ironic but in order to be truly happy in your own skin you have to allow yourself to fully accept the dark, ugly, sad, scared, guilty, insecure and shameful parts of yourself. With acceptance of where you are in that moment you can also commit to a plan for change but until then you cannot change what you refuse to admit is there. Make sure with every experience you accept responsibility for your part in it and ask yourself what lessons are learned. Then take those lessons and really apply them in the future. That is a true sign of wisdom and maturity.
Surround yourself with people smarter than you so that you are always learning something because a day spent not learning something is a day wasted.
With wisdom, love and happiness
I recently watched The Shift with Dr. Wayne Dyer and it is free to view on YouTube if you are interested in watching the entire movie. In a nutshell, it is about letting go and letting God. Stop trying to control every aspect of your life because that creates resistance and makes everything more complicated. Instead, you must state your desire and then back away from it. I am struggling with this process in a couple of areas of my life. What we know, want and feel in the morning, or beginning of the day may not be the same as what we know, want, and feel by the afternoon. So when Dr. Dyer often mentions shifting to the afternoon of our lives, he is basically saying, what we know, want and feel early in our lives is not going to be the same as we shift to the afternoon of our lives.
We may desire a great paying job, big money, a big house, an expensive car and big vacations when we are dreaming of our future at 21-years-old. However, as you reach middle adulthood, and then late adulthood, transitions will occur. There will be a shift in your priorities. This may happen sooner for some than for others and some may spend their entire lives after money and material possessions. These are the people who are usually on their death bed mumbling about how they should have done things differently. I don’t know about you, but I plan to be the person who realizes what is important early in life and taking advantage of all life has to offer!
Right now my struggle with letting go is about completing my education, making a career change and deciding if relocating is a wise option for me. I have found myself looking at beach properties a lot in the last 4-5 years, dreaming about a life in sunny Florida. My daughter will soon graduate high school and I will be in a position to go anywhere and do anything. I have not felt this sense of freedom in a long time and I realize the options are endless. However, I find myself weighing my options and worrying about things that should not even be a concern yet. What about finding a good job, selling my house and finding a new house, moving all my stuff, what about my relationship, what about my parents who are growing older? All of these considerations whirl around in my head as if I have to figure it all out right now. Then I stop and remind myself that I don’t have to figure it all out right now. I can state my desires and just keep moving forward. The right path will reveal itself as long as I just keep pushing forward with a positive attitude.
God knows what is in our hearts, what our true desires are, and he knows it all better than we do. So trusting in him and allowing things to fall in to place naturally, is the wise thing to do. I know that I will finish my degree, do my supervised hours, get my license and by the time I complete all of that process many other changes will occur. So why worry about all of it right now? I need to just focus on my current goals and not overwhelm myself with the future. There is a sense of peace in knowing that we don’t have to figure it all out. There is also a sense of peace in knowing that if something I want does not work out then there is probably a good reason it didn’t, so I don’t need to worry about that either. Just accept life as it comes and trust the process. Love without hesitation, learn without fear, and lead your life without worry.
To love, lessons and a life well lived,
My daughter has taught me more about myself than probably any single person in my life. She has also taught me the true importance of what it means to pass on what you learn to the next generation so that the mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves. I understand that some of those lessons we try to pass on to our children go without much consideration. Adolescents have a tendency to want to learn things the hard way and think that they know more than we do. I guess that it is normal and to some degree I know I thought that way as well and then we become adults and parents ourselves and realize how wrong we have been. I believe the ultimate goal is for each generation to get better and I believe that my brother and I have accomplished that. The hope is that our children will be even more successful than us and improve each generation there after.
I am a divorced mother of one daughter. My daughter currently lives with me full time and is 17. In review of my parenting over the past few years I can honestly say that I have made a few mistakes. I should have handled some things differently…better. Overall, I think sometimes I am too easy on her, but if you ask her, she will say I am too hard. I am definitely easier on her than my parents were with me. I understand that there comes a point as a mother when I will just have to hope that I have taught her everything she needs to know, and just let her go. I will have to back off and simply let her figure things out for herself. I hope that she maintains the work ethic, morals, values and character that I have tried to instill in her.
I am usually most frustrated with my daughter when she doesn’t follow the rules of the house, fails to do her chores, makes a bad grade because she isn’t trying, or when she is disrespectful. My house rules and her required chores have been the same for years and she should know them very well by now. As far as grades go, as long as she is trying her best and doing all the required homework and tests, I am satisfied. Having good manners and being respectful is something I require because it will benefit her for the rest of her life. I have helped and supported my daughter through many things from buying her first violin for orchestra, applying for her first job, to buying her first car. I want to help my daughter succeed in every way possible and live life to the fullest, like all parents do. Why do we want our kids to grow up too fast? We already know that they want to grow up fast, but why do we encourage it? Is growing up, being successful and independent something that should be done as soon as possible? Why?
I ask these questions from a mother and counseling perspective. In some countries parents allow their children to live at home for years after high school and they travel, take on many jobs, go to school for a bit and just experiment with life before committing to one person, one career and moving out on their own. In the US we are more likely to push our children to do more and be more earlier in life. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter is missing out on the chance to really enjoy her teen years. She is already working and taking college classes before she even graduates high school. I try to talk to her and explain to her the importance of balance. Balance is something that, for me, equals sanity.
Balance is important for adolescents and adults to learn. We can reach burn-out at any age, but I believe that the early push for our kids to be and do more as quickly as possible can cause more harm than good. My daughter is wrapping up her junior year of high school and is already feeling the pressure of deciding what college to attend, what she will study to be and what career she wants to pursue. That is a lot to consider at 17! So as her mother I tell her, have a game plan, but don’t let your life depend on it. Her interests, morals, values, and thoughts, feelings and ideas about the world around her will be developing, growing and changing constantly for the next 6-8 years. By about 25 years old most people begin to stabilize and have an idea of who they are, where they stand and what they want to do with their life. So I have encouraged my daughter to travel, study and work with the goal to learn about the world and about herself, but do not settle in to any particular roles right away.
Motherhood is about hoping to do better than your mom did, but realizing you still will make your own mistakes. Motherhood is about loving someone so much and understanding that part of that love means eventually letting go. Motherhood is about guiding and teaching, but also about being able to listen and learn. Motherhood is realizing you can learn just as much from them as they can from you. Motherhood is knowing what boundaries to set for them and yourself. Motherhood is not just about telling, but setting a good example and showing them by how you live your life. Motherhood is being able to stay consistent and discipline them when they are wrong and saying you are sorry when you are wrong. Motherhood is understanding and letting them know, that just because they may leave your home, they will never leave your heart.
To happiness, health, balance, and mothers of all ages
Everyone has some degree of addiction in their life. People can be addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, legal or illegal drugs, caffeine, food, and even people. I am sure there are a few I didn’t mention but those are probably the most common. I would say that relationships are probably one of the biggest addictions in the population. Most people dream of finding “the one” but the real question is, why do you dream of having another person in your life? Is it just because it is something feel you should do? Is it because you are lonely? Is it because you are an over-achiever and you want to complete the perfect life and wrap it up with a nice looking, successful spouse and 2.5 kids?
Anything that we are addicted to is used to cover up pain within ourselves. The person, drug or food helps us escape the present moment and for a while that escape feels really good. However, when that really good rush of a new found love or that really good meal or high from a drug fades out the pain just returns. I am not saying that all relationships are based on addiction, but I think many of us act and react in a cycle that is much closer to addiction than love. I have mentioned unconditional love previously in my blog and it is something that is very rare to come by. Love is a state of being within yourself and is not dependent on someone or something else. If you find yourself going through the cycle of being judgmental, critical and annoyed by your partner for a while and then returning to the loving state over and over throughout your relationship, that is a sign of something missing. However, unlike what many believe, it is not something missing in your relationship or within your partner, it is something missing within yourself.
Nobody is conscious all the time, but you can be aware of the difference between your self and your thoughts. Our thoughts are not who we are, that is our ego, constantly judging ourselves and others, and if other people are not helping benefit our ego in a moment we may lash out in fear, jealousy, anger, frustration or many other negative emotions. Our ego instantly starts cycling through all the bad things our partner said or did to us over the years and we dwell on what we should have said or done and how it hurt us and those painful feelings build. If we are aware that those are just thoughts and feelings recycling and not really who we are, what are relationship is based on or who are partner is, then we can focus on what is really important. If you are truly whole in yourself and understand that there is something bigger than all of us, connecting us as one, you will begin to look at the world a little differently.
Nobody is perfect, we all have unconscious moments where the ego takes over and we want to feel sorry for ourselves and blame our partner for our misery. Usually when we become critical or judgmental it is because words or a situation has reignited a past hurt or fear from a previous relationship. This past hurt can come from any relationship, not just romantic. Being called stupid by your Dad as a child every time you made a mistake can leave a mark on your ego. So if you are in a relationship as an adult and your partner jokingly calls you stupid, (even though this isn’t very nice) it is probably taken much harder than it should be. Your partner does not understand your past hurt and should not be held responsible for it. The truth is we can choose how we respond to those hurtful moments and when our partner is judgmental, critical or hurtful there are three things we need to understand: the negative words or behavior is saying more about them than it is about us, it is probably coming from a place of insecurity and hurt within them from something in their past, and if we can just accept them for who they are and not take it personal then we can begin to understand what real unconditional love is. We are all here working towards many of the same goals in life and many of us share some of the same hurts and disappointments. So when your partner is going through a critical, and maybe even hateful, moment ask yourself why they may be that way. Are they stressed at work, is there some underlying issue that can be addressed?
Instead of responding in a defensive or accusatory manner try being compassionate and show some empathy towards them. If you are addicted to the relationship you will know because you will only feel love when they are feeding the ego within you. Some relationships become so addictive that they are down-right abusive. This is an individual who has let the pain and the ego completely take over and this person is most likely not in a healthy state to even be in a relationship. I do believe there are hurt and broken people who must work on the relationship with themselves before they attempt a relationship with another person. That is why addiction programs recommend that people get a plant, then a puppy, before they attempt a human relationship. Addiction is very selfish, we want the other thing or person to complete us and that is not how love works, that is how addiction works. If there is something missing in your relationship or in your life as a whole, it has nothing to do with anything or anybody else, it has to do with you. Probably the best break-up line in the world is “it’s not you, it’s me” because the truth is, no matter how perfect you are you will never be perfect enough for the wrong guy even on your best day. However, with the right guy you will be loved even on your worst day. Break-ups hurt but they are bitter-sweet because even though you thought it had more potential for bigger and better things, it never reached that potential and that is sad. Then again, who wants to constantly spin their wheels for something bigger and better with a teammate whose heart is not in it? So ultimately, you saved yourself from a bigger heartache not a bigger, better relationship.
So if you are dating someone and at a point where you are re-evaluating where you stand, can you be honest with yourself? Can you ask yourself why you want the relationship in the first place? Can you ask yourself what may be missing for you and why? Are there some things from your past that you could address and work on so they no longer affect your present relationships? Would these past issues be something you could share with your partner so they better understand why are you are more sensitive to certain words, actions or situations? Can you truly accept this person for exactly who they are or are you constantly trying to change them and mold them in to the perfect guy or girl for you? This will help you discover if the relationship is just an addiction at this point and time or if you are working towards something bigger and better.
I do believe that an addictive relationship can transform into a relationship of unconditional love. If both people are willing to accept and understand each other. Being able to be apart and have trust is very important. Being able to have shared friends and your own friends without jealousy is very important. Having things you enjoy doing together and apart creates a healthy friendship that is critical for a healthy romantic relationship. Being able to respectfully disagree and resolve conflict in a mature conversation is very important. Allowing one another to be exactly who you are without judgement or criticism is also extremely important. I once had a boyfriend who was embarrassed of my loud laugh, I never in my life thought to be self-conscious of it until I saw the look on his face as he mumbled something under his breath. A close girlfriend of mine said, I think your laugh and smile is one of the most beautiful things about you. So was my hurt at his reaction to my laugh justified, yes I think so, but was it really because something is wrong with me? No, of course not. If he is annoyed or embarrassed by another persons laugh that most definitely says more about him that it does me. Especially when those have known me longer and better find it beautiful.
Do not let another person choose how you feel about yourself. You make the rules, you call the shots, you get to choose who you allow in your life and why. If at any time it does not feel like love but more of an addiction, you have a choice to ask the hard questions and address it with your partner. If you are in a relationship that can never lead to unconditional love, then you can simply be honest, take ownership and tell them…”it’s not you, it’s me”.
With happiness, healthy and some unconditional love
So in my psychology classes we review a lot of theories and how nature and nurture can affect how we become the people we are in life. Then along the way other relationships and experiences change us and shape us a little more. Then one day, as time goes by and we get older, we look back over our lives and realize we are not really anything like the person we started out to be. Some may change more than others, some may become better and some may become worse people over time. I find myself thinking about how much of the life cycle is a choice and how much is just…well…unconscious.
Do you have the same morals, values, beliefs and standards that you did when you were in your teens or early twenties? Did you want a spouse and kids and a nice little house and yard with a dog and a picket fence? Were these ideas put there by family and peers and cultivated from the area of the world where you were raised? Did you really want these things and believe them or were you just conditioned to think that way? These are questions I am asking myself and I want to hear the answers from others. I would love to hear it from all cultures and areas of the world….if you were to be extremely honest with yourself. Are you truly being your authentic self?
Also, I understand that some degree of influence in culture, family, religious belief….all of that and more are going to affect how each person views the world. Were you a minority in your school? Were you popular? Were you teased or did you just fade out in the crowd? Did you marry young or get pregnant in high school? Did you experience some kind of trauma? Did your parents divorce? Do you even know your parents? All of these things can affect how we respond to others in our every day lives. When you really start to think about it there are certain small moments that make a difference in every individuals life…good or bad. Maybe you had a teacher who said something encouraging to you in the the 4th grade and that moment changed your life. Maybe you had a summer love with a girl that broke your heart and you will never look at love quite the same. Maybe that summer love with that girl or that moment with that teacher did not affect them the way it did you. Maybe, they went on about their lives and never thought about you again.
Now think about your daily life now….how you interact with those around you, even strangers. There may be one single moment that you will do something kind for another human being and it may change their life from that point on. You may not think about that moment ever again but they will remember it forever. So pay attention to how you live, even in the little moments….because in the life cycle you are making ripples in the ocean of life. Those ripples can create beautiful waves or they can cause a horrible storm in the hearts and minds of others. Be conscious of the choices you make in your actions and words throughout your day. Be true to yourself and don’t live by the standards and expectations of others, do what makes you happy and feels right in your heart. Be a leader in your own life, not a follower.
With Happiness, Health, Love and Truth
Ever been coasting along in life and all of sudden you get a call from a friend who is in crisis mode? You jump in as the supportive friends, try to listen, advise, relate to them, counsel them and motivate them to stay positive. After the conversation you feel drained and maybe start to question some things in your own life that you weren’t questioning before. Why do we do that? When a friend goes through a break-up because her man was lying and cheating do you find yourself beginning to analyze the status of your own relationship? When a person is completely unhappy with where they live or their job do you start analyze your own career and where you are in life?
In psychology there is something called the contagion effect. This effect has to do more with aggressive behavior. The contagion effect states that when individuals grow up in an abusive environment or a bad neighborhood or are surrounded by delinquent peers they are more likely to be aggressive themselves. Basically, violence begets violence. So if this is possible over-time for aggression isn’t it possible that other emotions can be contagious as well?
This is why it is so important to surround yourself around positive people and focus on the good in your life and the good in others. When a friend is going through a bad break-up it is okay to let them vent about all the negative feelings but don’t leave it on that note. You want to encourage your friend to focus on the present moment of healing and look forward to future, not wallow in the past. Misery really does love company and it seems the more you talk about negative things in life the more negative you will begin to experience. So shut the door on that nonsense as soon as possible. Count your blessings!
When you find yourself starting to get sucked in to another persons negative talk you have to be conscious of it. If you start thinking about all the negative aspects of your job, your relationship or any other part of your life then its easy to join them in the downward spiral because we all know that no job or relationship is perfect. However, if you are conscious of the negative thoughts and instead choose to focus on all the positives you have your job or relationship you are much less likely to join them in the pity party. Instead your goal should be to inspire them to do the same. Sometimes when a person is going through a rough time they just want to feel it in that moment and not be pushed to be positive or happy but that doesn’t mean you have to join them in that moment. There is a difference between being a supportive friend and being an enabler. Don’t join them in the fire, show them ways to get out. It is up to them to pull up their big girl panties and take the advice or follow your example and motivate to get out of the negativity and get back on track.
Emotions can be contagious and it is important to choose your friends wisely. It is also important to be very self aware of how the world around you is effecting your well-being, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. When having conversations with friends or family be sure to remain very conscious because some people can be very toxic and emotionally draining. The more you maintain a positive state of mind the less likely you are to encounter those that are negative. What you think about most is what you will experience most. Basically, like attracts like. Be a person whose light and warmth attracts others with light and warmth and all of us positive super stars can shine together!
With love, happiness, health and positive thoughts,