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…
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
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
Looking through Huffpost today, I found the below post. It addresses one of my favorite topics; we can’t be in a healthy relationship until we are healthy ourselves.
The author, Denise Scarbro, talks about being in needy, self-destructive relationships for a few years because she thought those individuals were coming into her life because she had the strength and knowledge to impact their lives in a positive way. Eventually, she came to understand the reason why they were in her life was because of the way she felt inside – needy and off-focus.
There is nothing new about what I’m saying and what she’s saying, but somehow the very clear statement: “we attract into our lives people and situations that reflect the way we feel inside” needs to be thought about and constantly repeated so we don’t forget its wisdom.
If we feel content and at peace with who we are we would never consider anything beyond a hello – and only to be polite – to someone who is not well with themselves. It’s not that we would have to think about the situation. Instinctively we would know that person would not be a good addition to our lives and we would step aside instead of inviting them in.
I’m not talking about being perfect or only letting perfect people in simply because there is no such thing as perfection. But, I am talking about people that have a level of understanding and appreciation of themselves that enables them to have honest and positive relationships.
So, if you find yourself always surrounded by others that obsessively need you or live in an eternal state of drama, ask yourself how they are reflecting YOU. It may be time to pull the outside plug stimulus and concentrate in improving the relationship with the inner-self.
Please read on…
The Trick to Attracting Healthy Relationships
By Denise Scarbro
Have you ever felt like you always attract a certain type of person? I know I have! The same kinds of people seem to present themselves to me all the time. They may have different faces and different names, but in the end the same themes are always there. Not too long ago, I kept finding myself with an emotionally unavailable boyfriend; misunderstood people gravitated to me; needy people always wanted to be my friend; and if there was ever an underdog, we inevitably somehow teamed up. I found myself thinking, “What am I putting out there to attract these people to me?” …Continued
I often write about things that haunt me. It’s my way to share my path and process. As I learn how to untangle myself from my emotional handicaps – which are universal – I write about the methods and results.
Today, I want to write about something I’ve learned quickly and well: letting go of regrets. To me this particular lesson was a sink or swim. Let me give you an example. When I lived in NYC, I was married to a man for 11 years. I made a youthful mistake – I was 20 years-old when we got married. Within the first year of marriage, I already knew I was not happy, he was not happy, and we would never be happy together. But, I stayed for another 10 years. I stayed because I kept thinking that maybe I could turn the mistake into something positive. I stayed because each year that passed, I thought I had more invested and therefore had to try harder to make something of it. And I stayed, because I was afraid of making a mistake by leaving. In essence, all the wrong reasons for staying in a relationship.
A friend of mine, I’m going to call her Annie, lived with her boyfriend for four years before they decided to get married. They had a fabulous fun wedding and four months later she caught her new husband cheating on her. She was so hurt, humiliated and angry that all she could think was of was to ask for a divorce. They sold their house and went their separate ways.
I saw Annie recently, three years after her divorce, and we talked about her ex-husband. She said she regretted not having given their relationship a chance. She thought she should have talked to him and tried to figure out why after just a few months he needed to give his attention to someone else. Was the commitment to much of a weight? Was he/she feeling insecure about still being a desirable man/woman?
For many years I suffered from an extreme behavior; that of beating myself up for things that I didn’t do or did do.
I never needed anyone to hold me up to any accountability or standards. I did that on my own and to such a high level that it was obvious that I had set myself up for failure.
At a certain point, things got so bad that I even imagined taking my own head and hitting it against a wall. My mind wanted me to pay for being stupid or for not being perfect.
It was then that I realized that the compassion I offered to others when they were less than perfect, I should also give myself before I crushed under the weight of my intolerance.
Today I’m thinking of John Lennon’s quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
I am in Rio de Janeiro visiting my parents and was ready to leave back to the US when a situation came up with my dad making me stay for another couple of days. This time it was not his health, but his business.
So, here I was yesterday with my bags packed and people and things waiting for my return when it all had to change. Again, I was reminded life has a mind of its own.
As I think about John Lennon and the web and flow of life, thoughts of hope and failure come up.
Sometimes, when I get really tired of all the obstacles I have had to overcome and still jump over, I feel sorry for myself. Thoughts like “I deserve to receive more for all the effort I put out in my life” dance around in my brain and I feel bad for myself.
Of course, if we think of life as a scale, then one should get out as much as one puts in. And so should I.
It is then – while I’m throwing my own pity party – that I remember that the act of trying, the act of getting up every time I’m down, is what makes life interesting and creative. It isn’t so much the results – which make us feel great for a moment – that create an energized life; it is the process. It is how we find the strength and hope to create and recreate the life we want to live every single time. This never ending process is what keeps us in the game. Not so much the results.
So, when you feel yourself disheartened, think for a moment how your life would be if you didn’t keep going after your dreams. Think about how it would be if you just went through the motions and you will realize – like I do – that life is really what happens while you are busy making other plans.
Please read on.
How To Begin To Cultivate Hope After Failing
By Carolyn Rubenstein
The scariest part of failure is being seen when you’re most vulnerable and least perfect. It is far safer (and easier) to hide behind dreams and schemes. It is even fun to dream and scheme — to think “what if,” and to create our own fairy tales — you know, something to look forward to, one day when you just know that it’s the right time…Continued
I don’t know if it was because my late husband Chris and I had been unhappily married before, but we never took each other for granted. Three months before Chris passed away – when so much has already been taken from him – he looked at me and said: “We are one of the happiest couples I have ever known.” He was right; we were.
Chris and I accepted each other as we were. Even when he wore the most atrocious shirts – to my taste at least – I’ve never said anything. I didn’t because I accepted him. And when I was caught in my rat wheel, he stood by me patiently letting me know he was there.
We were each others best friends. We supported one another on the path we chose for ourselves. There was never any talk of “you should be this way or you should do this.” Our talks were more about how we could support each other in our life adventures.
We checked in with each other during the day and at night we had what I called “quality time.”
Quality time was when we turned the lights out and before going to sleep in the darkness we held each other and shared our feelings. Whatever they were, we were there to listen.
We made a point – without making a point – to thank each other for little things we did. We also paid compliments as often as possible. Not phony ones, but real ones that came from having slowed down enough to pay attention to one another.
Chris used to bring me flowers and I cooked special meals for him. Without thinking about it, we were making sure we both knew how appreciated we were and how lucky we felt to be together. Sometimes we even blurted out: “I’ve never thought I could be this happy.”
I think that was the secret of our beautiful relationship. Not just that we loved and appreciated each other, but that we let one another know.
Time goes by quickly and we never know what turns life will take. Why not let the people we love know how much we appreciate them? That is the secret to a successful relationship.
Please read on.
The Secret to Extraordinary Love Every Day (And 6 Easy Ways to Make it Happen)
By Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW
In a word: appreciation. It sounds simple but its power is super-charged. The dual aspects of gratitude and recognition, both imbedded in the loving art of appreciation, are like sunshine and water to a plant..Continued
As modern couples, we are at extreme risk for taking each other for granted. We juggle career, family, home management, extended families, aging parents, and health concerns. It’s no wonder that our most intimate relationship gets lost in the day to day shuffle…Continued