When it hurts the most

We all experience pain of several types and there have been many explanations for the experience.  If you enjoy pain, are you a sadist or simply someone who accepts change as the only real constant in our lives?

Nothing in this world is constant (there are mathematical and science related constants that we will excuse from this discussion), so why do we fight it so much?  In our lives, many of us play from behind in that we constantly prepare for the tomorrow we expect and adapt to the tomorrow we receive.  We need to receive the day, adapt, and accept.  On most days, we can do this but what about on the bad days – when it hurts the most?

Do we retreat from our best, and become less in the face of the adversity?  Or do we step up and become more?  We need to become more.  Our world deserves better than what we give it daily.

How do we do this?  Here is a list that may help.

  1. Slow down – consider both your words and your actions.  What will be the logical outcome of the words and actions?  If it is positive, proceed, but if it is negative, take a new course.
  2. Change how you think – instead of disliking someone for something said or done, ask why are they acting this way?  Can you get a better idea of why they are acting this way, or think of a scenario that would make this their course of action?  This is very hard at first, but after awhile it becomes second nature.  Combined with slowing down, it will give you surprising results
  3. Stop expecting anyone to change – accept who they are, warts and all.  Use this as a foundation upon which your interactions will build.  This does not mean you need to build relationships with negative people, but simply that you understand where they are and can move forward.  Your actions are all you can control and they speak volumes about you, not about them.  You can love deeply flawed people.  That is a good thing, because we are all deeply flawed.

That is it.  Take your time, think about it, change how you interact, accept what you receive and move onward and upward to a better place for everyone.

What Will I Do?

Today dawn burns bright.  Today I always have choices.  They may seem small Today but what ripples do they send out?

Today I Will:

1. Live fully in the moments that present themselves

2. Extend kindness regardless of the response

3.  Defend myself from the ugliness outside and take steps to minimize the ugly in our lives

4.  Work hard at what we do.  Your purpose, your relationships, your goals

5.  Never stop – our time is limited.  Our possibilities are not.  

6.  Make wrongs right.  We all make mistakes. 

7.  Smile.  6 feet above > 6 feet under

8.  Love.  There are people, places and things who love you. Love them back.  You are number 1 on this list. 

9.  Accept.  Let the past blow into eternity.  Take today and start building new tomorrows. 

Today.  Not tomorrow – Today. 

We Keep Fighting and Losing

So each day, each night we fight our demons.  They come in waves at times, but never truly leave.  We try to combat them in various ways – we reduce our potential exposure to those temptations, we reset our activities, we change friends, become more thoughtful, start meditating, start an exercise program, take up a healthy hobby, end relationships, maybe even move.  We deal with everything but the root cause.

In the past I have never spoken in the first person, but this is different.  In some important personal recent events, I was forced to face my own weakness in the past.  Yes, I contemplated suicide.  I was alone, without those I valued most, my family were distant at best and hostile at worst.  I had to find a way to support those I had sworn to protect, make myself stronger, and re-focus my mind, body, and spirit.  I was fighting every day and night and losing.  I hid all of these thoughts from everyone.  I have never admitted this to anyone before.  I never told my counselor, my best friend.  I was ashamed of my weakness.

I started with re-framing my major relationships.  I did this for those who needed me the most.  I was not strong enough to fight for myself, so I fought for them.  I refused to be told how to behave/what to think/why to do things.  I worked hard to build on the positive relationships – the ones that had survived.  I pushed back on my family and made them realize I was valid and valuable.  I fought back in small ways and refused to back down.  As someone who hated confrontation, this was very hard for me.  It was my only path to freedom.  Eventually I became strong enough to push back against the worst offenders in my life.  It was ugly for awhile, but I was committed to making a real and lasting change.

I viewed my suicidal thoughts as a weakness that needed a cure and embraced the discipline needed to change it.  Eventually I looked at my suicidal thoughts as the weakest way out of my situation.  I have been given many gifts and for me to persist and resist to the last is what my duty is to those who love me.  They deserve no less.

So every day I fight my demons.  They never fight fair – and what is fair?  Prepare yourself with the love of those who really care.  Be generous and kind with your abilities.  Focus outside and protect those that need you and there is someone, something that will miss you, that needs your help and protection.  My demons come when I am weak.  They know how to take away my focus, take away my strength.  Here is the real secret – they need my permission, my weakness, my lack of focus to take this from me and by extension, those I love.  Do I still lose?  Hell yes.  Will I ever stop fighting?  Hell no.

Be well.  Live, Laugh, and Love.

Defining Courage

There comes a time, some sooner, some later, when we have to stand for something or someone.  These can be defining moments or more simple ones, but their importance is not always apparent immediately.  We may have been fighting this battle internally for months or years in silence and all of a sudden it comes out.  A common reaction to a person who has always cooperated, always been selfless, always worked to find a way, but now is standing firm, is shock.  To those who always took advantage of this situation anger, frustration, and fear creep in.  The aggressor wants to keep the status quo, maintain control, have it their way.  The mental games that are then played by the aggressor can either stop, continue, or escalate.  For someone who is not used to standing up, speaking up, and not backing down, this requires a change in mindset and transition from passion to discipline.

This show of courage must be sustained every day.  This is not simply about a passion, but about a lifestyle.   As the receiver of these negative emotions instills this discipline, there will be hard times.  This is not an easy path to follow.  But if the discipline is allowed to survive then the redefinition of the relationship and all relationships can happen over time.  The rewards are phenomenal.  The pain can also be phenomenal.  But unless the pain is endured and lasting change made, the original and damaging relationship will continue.

Some of the outcomes of these interactions include loss of friendships and a sense of loss of control.  Friendships that do not endure this change were generally not positive friendships.  They were based upon the same negative principles as the main negative relationship.  Make new friends that love and respect you as you are, not as they wish you to be.  Loss of control is simply due a change in the perception of reality.  What was really there was hidden from the negatively impacted person, who chose not to see these things.  Now all of the ugly of the past is in plain sight.  How could you have not seen this?  Why was I so stupid?  How could I let myself be treated this way?

These painful questions are easy to answer but hard to accept.  You chose not to see it.  You were clouded by emotions – love, fear, lust.  You were afraid and unsure that if you stood up that no one would love you.  No one would accept you.  These are the emotions that kept you bound as a prisoner of your own misguided thoughts.

So you have made the choice to stand up and not back down.  You have endured the pain and loneliness.  You bear the scars.  You are also free.  Finally and truly free.  You define who you are and can become.  Find someone who will lift you up, not push you down.  Someone who wants the best for you, because they love you, not because they want what you can provide for them.  Stand.

Live, Laugh, and Love.  Be well.

Why We Keep Spinning

There is something inherently evil about the lack of satiation.  It does not matter what it is – person, place, or thing.  We want more, always more.

Lets run through what this does to our psyche.

  1. It allows no rest.  If you never have enough, you are constantly figuring out what you are either missing or how you can get that which you are missing.
  2. It drives or is driven by – comparison.  Comparison = Competition.  We compete because we want to compare, want to be better, and in the stronger and most evil cases, have a desire for dominance.
  3. It allows no reflection.  If our minds and hearts are always chasing something, how can we evaluate ourselves at a deep level when we never get past our ‘stuff’?
  4. It diminishes appreciation.  We never sit back and look at what we have been given and our opportunities and abilities.
  5. It causes us to dislike ourselves on a superficial level that grows deeper.  The water that sits on the surface creeps into our soul, creating a disgust of ourselves that is only lessened by working harder, taking greater chances, seeking more validation.

What do we need?

  • Enough to get by with a some set aside for rainy days.
  • Support of family and friends that is real.
  • Positive belief in self and the world around
  • Strength of mind, body, and soul to weather storms as they come
  • Love of the wonders all around us
  • Tenacity to defend ourselves against those that will harm us
  • Kindness to help others, regardless of reciprocity
  • Humility to be open to learning and growing
  • Skepticism of false or effusive praise
  • Acceptance of our situation without deception
  • Gratitude for our state in life and this world

Live, Laugh, and Love.  Be well.

When Its Right but We Feel Wrong

We all experience conflict from those that truly love us.  Sometimes the conflict is our fault, sometimes it is not.  When you are picking up the pieces of your life, do not expect that everyone will support you.  They will not.  And for various reasons – how you handle this is entirely up to you.  One thing that does become more apparent is who really wants to be in your life and who does not.  This is not a bad thing.  Just like a forest fire clears the way for the strongest trees to continue to thrive, these internal fires can burn off the relationships that are marginal or weak.

As part of this process, decisions will be made and the responses you receive will surprise you because many of us have a false sense of our real place within our friends and relative’s lives.  Many may disagree with a decision you know is right.  What you can do is to help them understand your position, but what you cannot do is to backtrack on the right decision.  That will lead you back to the dark place you have worked so hard to leave in your past.

Know also that if you have the courage to confront your friends and family about your relative position in their lives being incorrect, you will receive conflict in return.  Relationships, especially older ones, are based on expectations of behavior derived from past interactions.  Once your response changes, conflict ensues as you have shown courage to change.  This is a good thing.  Let their anger flow by you, feel its power and passion, and smile knowing you did not cause this, but they did by their actions during your relationship.  All you are doing is setting things right and they need to adjust or become a lesser part of your life.

To be clear, this is to correct relationships that are unbalanced or even negative/evil.  You know in your heart which relationships are positive and which are negative.  Gather your courage and have the talk, write the email.  Be reasonable but unyielding.  You are fighting for your freedom, your right to be happy and fully alive without interference.  Its a fight worth the pain.  It will take weeks, months, maybe years for the battle to end, but you will get stronger along the way and the conflict becomes less difficult for you.

Think of your relationships, evaluate them, try to change the bad, feed the good, and move forward.

Be well.  Live, Laugh, and Love Always.  r

Where Pain Hits

We all deal with pain – mental, physical, spiritual – and we all bear scars.  Whether you have scars is not important, but whether you have accepted the pain and look on the scar as a tool of growth.  Almost all pain subsides with time so how we deal with the period of pain says a great deal about the person we have become.  And whether we have forgiven so that we can move forward sets us up for personal growth via the freedom we garner by accepting.  We cannot change our past, and learning to let the pain fade and forgive allows us to move on and live today.

This sounds great, but does it really happen?  Yes, it can but only in time.  Give yourself time and space to analyze what is really going on inside of yourself and why you feel as you do.  Once you know these feelings and understand their root, you can then go about moving forward with less emotion.  We all make mistakes, some small, some large.  Whether you stand up for your mistakes and forgive others mistakes really sets your boundaries for where you can go in life and beyond.  There is no real mystery here, but we create such emotion and drama that it magnifies the conflict, both internal and external.

So we have this day to live, laugh, and love.  Will we live through the lens of yesterdays long gone, or will we wipe away the grit of pain and anger and see more clearly both our emotions and actions, but those of others?  Will we let the lens focus on the minutiae or pull back and look at the big picture?  Live your life looking forward to whether you will be proud of these actions in YOUR future.

Live, Laugh, and Love.  Be well.