Below is an interesting post by Laura Berman Fortgang, a best-selling author and interfaith minister. In it she discusses how much it is up to us to re-educate (Re-Mind) ourselves so we can have a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
She talks about accepting and embracing who we are as a first step then creating an inner-dialogue as a second. And I couldn’t agree more.
While she specifically discusses depression – which has never had a strong hold on me – the process still works for my “dis-ease” – a demanding mind.
First I have had to understand the demands I place on myself – to always be perfect – is not actually holding the bar high – as I used to think – but is instead putting myself in a suffocating prison.
No one is perfect and not allowing oneself to make mistakes is a heavy burden to carry. It sucks the life out of you and sends you down a path where you’ll be beating yourself up on a daily basis.
So, I know who I am. I know my tendencies and when they rear up their ugly heads, I talk to myself. I Re-mind myself (re-educate) that I need to accept that sometimes I’m less than perfect. Then I direct my mind to the big picture. Is this “error” of mine going to have such consequences that justify the beating I’m giving myself? Can I actually learn something from it?
Thinking of the big picture is a great response to the beating up. It really puts things in perspective because in most cases my “error” is really insignificant and if I think about it I can actually learn something from it.
Once, I have talked to myself then I move on with compassion. I forgive myself. I actually say: It’s okay. Then I get busy with others things and I don’t let my mind keep playing the “error” again and again. I get off the rat wheel.
In the end, our lives are not really about the end game. The accomplishments. It really is much more about the in between. The experiences. The relationships. The emotions. The wisdom acquired to be compassionate towards oneself. The wisdom about being present.
Please read on…
Recalculating: You Can Re-Mind Yourself
By Laura Berman Fortgang
I’ve battled depression for most of my adult life. I don’t discuss it much but when I do, like now, it’s to encourage someone suffering from depression. The response is usually one of surprise, like “You seem so energetic and positive!”
“That’s my nature,” I respond. “And I have to fight for it every day.” Continued…
There is a type of dance human beings in relationships do; self-defense/attack. I’m not referring to romantic relationships only. I’m talking about all kinds of relationships; work, family and friendship.
We feel insecure, we cover up by attacking. We feel hurt, we cover up by attacking.
Most of us are taught and trained to hit back when attacked. But, if we think about it, in most situations, that only leads to more discord. By reacting we fail to understand the attack is coming from hurt and not hatred. That most likely the best response is actually one of understanding.
As we grow as people we understand that sometimes others attack us not because they don’t love us, but because they don’t know what to do with their own hurt. Once we understand that we then start to develop compassion for their behavior. We stop feeling attacked and instead comprehend and forgive.
Not attacking back or not being reactionary is not a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of strength. Only a healthy ego can understand other people’s hurt without having to show off how wise it is.
This state of being is not something easy to master, but something worth while to invest in. What I have learned to do is when attacked by someone I care about instead of reacting, I step aside. I still have to work on the getting hurt part. It takes time to emotionally realize it is not personal. But, when I’m successful in stepping aside, I’m always surprised how the situation turns around without a show down simply because I exercised understanding and compassion.
Don’t take others reactions at face value. If you are in any type of a relationship where from time to time there is an emotional attack out of nowhere, take a moment to think about the motivation. Don’t react. Exercise understanding and compassion. Most situations will work themselves out. And remember; it is a mark of your strength and growth.
Last year, I read an interesting piece by a writer who was trying to make the point that holding back in a romantic relationship was actually more detrimental than jumping in with both feet first.
Let me explain: what she was trying to say is that as we get older and have had a few disappointing experiences we start to hold back on our enthusiasm. We want to see where things go before we put our hearts on the chopping board. Good logical thinking. But, as we do that, we also diminish the experience. We don’t laugh as loud. We don’t love as intensively. And our happiness is damped.
I thought and still think the writer has a point. If we hold back on enthusiasm what we end up doing is creating a beige life. And the truth is, if we are trying to stop ourselves from going through bad situations we will never completely succeed as life has its own mind and rhythm and will bring challenges no matter what.
I think the answer is in being enthusiastic, but conscious. What I’m saying is; let’s let ourselves go, but know it is possible that the relationship or job or sports competition may not pan out the way we want. If we do that, we get to live the experience fully all the while being prepared if it doesn’t end up the way we hoped it would.
Please read on…
Why People Are Afraid to Be Enthusiastic
By Lisa Earle McLeod
Have you ever had someone throw a wet blanket on your idea? It’s horrible. You come in all excited about something, then someone you care about (your spouse, boss, teacher, parent) responds with anxiety and doubt.
As a hugely enthusiastic person myself, I’ve had this happen a lot. I used to get hurt and annoyed. But I’ve come to realize that people aren’t intentionally trying to dampen your energy. Sometimes they’re just afraid…continued
I usually go to a spinning class on Saturday mornings. Today, as I was riding and sweat was dripping, I heard an inner-voice that said: “Do I really need this? Why am I doing this to myself?” To which one of my other inner voices responded: “I can do it. I’ll relax and commit. Just watch me.”
No, I’m not turning schizophrenic. I’m just aware of the inner dialogue that ensues when we are faced with challenges. When we are faced with hardship a side of us wants to give up while other parts want to keep going. It is in this tug of war that success or failure is decided. If our cheerleader voice is louder than success is the outcome.
Exercise – either extraneous like spinning or intense like Yoga – is a microcosm of life. If we are to last the whole class or training session we must learn to relax, commit and silence the negative voice. The same happens in life. If we are to succeed in our careers or an undertaking we must learn to pace ourselves and overcome the obstacles without giving up.
Athletes have to learn this from day one. They have to overcome physical difficulties and pain. They have to overcome competition. And they have to do all of that with complete commitment – mental and physical.
We have to learn to approach our dreams like athletes do their sport – with relaxation and commitment. Because for most of us getting what we want means working at it. It means applying ourselves without giving up.
I love exercise – not only for health reasons – but because it helps me understand in an innate way what my posture in life has to be if I am to get what I want.
So, pick an exercise routine that challenges you. Observe what your mind tells you. Turn off the negativity. Relax. Commit. And witness your personal achievement.
I was born without patience. Actually, I was born wanting things to happen instantly. I want it, I take action, I want the result. Unfortunately, I have had to learn that life doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t, simply because while I would like to be the center of the universe, I am not.
Involved in everything we want are others who also have their wants and desires as well as the unexpected because life has its own rhythm. So, rather than live a life of frustrations, I work at cultivating patience.
We need to do it because we are tested on a regular basis. It seems that standing in line or on hold is now a daily occurrence. And so if we don’t practice patience we are going to be buried under a mountain of frustration.
In terms of goals, it seems that achieving what we want now takes more time and more work. There is great competition and many obstacles. So again without practicing patience we will simply self-destruct.
When I know I have to wait long at a doctor’s office or hold a phone to my ear until it feels it’s become part of my being; I talk to myself before it happens. I do it as if talking to a child. I remind myself that losing my “cool” won’t do me any good. It will actually make things worse. I say to myself: “If you want such and such to happen you have to keep calm.” I also make sure to have reading or writing materials so if I can, I’ll make myself busy.
In terms of goals – that’s a tough of one. You really want something, you’ve done all you could, and now you have to wait. But there lies the key to patience. You’ve done all you could. Once I hit that point I tell myself to let go. There is nothing else more to do then to stay busy with other things and let life take its course. The minute I feel the feeling of frustration or impatience creeping in, I turn my attention to something else. I make myself busy. If my mind is engage with living then I have no time to let frustration build up.
Try these techniques and if they don’t work for you, find your own and let me know. Dealing with frustration and impatience is a lifelong commitment. I shall have other suggestions soon.
Interesting blog, see below, about managing fear.
Fortunately or unfortunately I have a lot to say about the subject.
Our instinctual flight or fight response means exactly what it says or asks. Do I fight or flight what is happening to me? In seconds our brain accesses the situation and makes a decision.
Twice before in my life I have been a victim of a crime – once in New York City and once in Los Angeles. In both situations adrenaline and Cortisol kicked in and turned mind sharper while slowing down time to allow me to make the necessary decision – right or wrong. This dynamic is pretty straight forward and goes back all the way to our cavern days.
Now, psychological fear – which is what we mostly deal with – has little to do with staying alive while a lot to do with being paralyze or ran over by our emotions.
Fear in these situations come as a result of us projecting our sense of worth and identity onto work and social situations. “If I fail at my presentation what will others think of me?” “If I say something stupid in front of others what will they think of me?” With such high stakes no wonder it is easy for us to be engulfed by our out of control fear and anxiety?
The truth is sometimes we will say silly things, but that doesn’t necessarily make us silly. We also may make a business presentation that doesn’t go well, but that won’t mean we are not good at what we do or a failure.
Unfortunately, knowing these truths doesn’t always keep our feelings under control. So, what can we do? We can develop tools we can use when fear and anxiety strike.
In my business, I have to go to “buyers” and pitch them an idea for a film or TV show I’ve had. It sounds easy, but its nerve racking. Think about it: you walk into the office of someone you probably never met before who has the ability to green light a project of yours. If they say yes to your project you will earn money and professional respect. So, they hold the power. You must tell them your story clearly and passionately and you can’t be side-tracked by anything else that might be going on in the office including their reactions to your idea.
I equate these pitch meetings to performing at a sporting event. No second chances. If I didn’t have tools to deal with the anxiety and fear that comes up when I have to go out and pitch, I would probably not even be able to get into a car.
So this is what I do:
- I talk to myself. I remind my psyche that all I can do is present my idea in the best way possible. That is all I have control over. If the buyer doesn’t spark to my idea that is nothing I can do. It’s out of my control.
By reminding myself that I’m not in control of an outcome releases a lot of apprehension because I’m no longer making myself responsible for the results. Working on the presentation is something I can do. So, I work on that. I work on what I have control over.
- I remind myself to breath.
When we get anxious we tend to take short and superficial breaths. But, long and deep breaths have the ability to calm and ground us. So, I breathe.
- I give the event the respect it deserves without becoming obsessed with it.
What I mean is: I recognize the need to prepare, but I don’t stop life and put the event on a pedestal to the point that it will create tremendous anxiety.
Please read on…
How To Stop Fear In Its Tracks
By Mary Pritchard
It’s midnight. You’ve had a little too much to drink, so you’ve decided to “walk it off” by hoofing it the five blocks to your apartment. Halfway there, you hear footsteps behind you. You stop and turn around. Nothing. You start walking again, a little faster. The footsteps behind you speed up too. You break out into a flat-out run — in high heels, no less — and make it to the safety of your apartment, never really knowing what it was that spooked you. Not really caring either, because you’re safe now…Continued
I used to be one of those people who boasted about not having a doctor because I was never sick. But then my husband Chris needed a liver transplant, cancer treatments and a burial. In the end of two and a half years of pain and fighting my nervous system took a beating. But, I didn’t realize that was the case until years later.
Other things have happened since then to compound stress to my nervous system and today almost four years after Chris’ passing I know I must deal with life in a different way.
Our bodies are remarkable in their resilience. I know that from experience. When my husband was extremely frail and in need of a liver transplant, I couldn’t imagine how he would ever make the journey back to being a “normal” person. I remember talking on the phone with a woman whose husband had a transplant a year before and heard her saying: “I know you’re wondering how he is going to survive this or go back to a good level of health based on where his mind and body are at now, but he will. The body is amazing.” And that was exactly what happened. Chris had been in his last hours of life when he received his liver transplant. Two months later we were getting married and walking 3 miles a day. His body was back and so was his mind.
I didn’t realize my nervous system was damaged until I started getting skin rashes from nerve endings infections a couple of years later. The rashes were the way my body was telling me; you need to live life differently. If you don’t you’re going to get sick. My unbalanced body was putting me on notice.
When I was younger, my dad used to say to me that health was the greatest gift we had. I must confess I didn’t pay much attention or agreed with his statement – then I could think of many other things that were more pleasurable and fun than just being healthy. I was healthy so I didn’t value it. Years of life have now taught me differently.
Being healthy means a good balance between body and mind. Being healthy means having freedom in life and a smooth aging process.
But being healthy cannot be confused with working out obsessively just for the sake of appearance. Or eating poorly again just for the sake of appearance. Or stressing oneself out to show how much we can get accomplished in a day, hour or in a minute.
Being healthy is about balance between the inside and the outside.
I’ve heard the message and I’m working on a new way of dealing with life’s obstacles. The key is always to put things in prospective, being your own advocate while treating yourself with love and kindness.
Please read on…
The Real Secret to Staying Healthy for Life (Part 1)
by Deepak Chopra