The Dysfunctional Dream

How many of you are familiar with rejection? – I am guessing everyone.

From little daily nuances in society to the beast of them all; heartbreak.

And why do they call it heartbreak? – Because it literally feels as if your heart is being ripped from your chest.

But why does it feel so physical?

“The answer is — our brains are wired to respond that way. When scientists placed people in functional MRI machines and asked them to recall a recent rejection, they discovered something amazing. The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain.” – Guy Winch

Makes sense right?! Sure.

What still puzzles me though is the question of what causes one particular rejection to feel more or less earth shattering than another?

Law of attraction would answer, that the further out of alignment your thoughts are with that of well being the worse you feel about the catalyst of those feelings. So, if our thoughts determine our emotions than everything is self fulfilling…

That’s heavy and it kinda sucks in a way.  That would mean that we hold ALL responsibility for the way we feel.

But it doesn’t have to suck. It just depends on how you look at it.

Through the filters of modern society, we tend to feel helpless. We are conditioned to rely on others for validation.

Think about it.

We are brought into this world codependent & helpless and continue through life seeking the approval from those around us.

No wonder we struggle. We are, as Abraham would say, “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

The power we seek is not in the love we receive from others, but rather in the love we have for ourselves.

But how does this help to answer the question of what causes one particular rejection to feel more or less earth shattering than another?

Fear.

I think Don Miguel Ruiz explains it best in the excerpt below from The Four Agreements.

“Every human has an emotional body completely covered with infected wounds…The mind is so wounded and full of poison by the process of domestication, that everyone describes the wounded mind as normal. This is considered normal, but I can tell you it is not normal.

We have a dysfunctional dream of the planet, and humans are mentally sick with a disease called fear. The symptoms of the disease are all the emotions that make humans suffer: anger, hate, sadness, envy, and betrayal. When the fear is too great, the reasoning mind begins to fail, and we call this mental illness. Psychotic behavior occurs when the mind is so frightened and the wounds so painful, that it seems better to break contact with the outside world.

If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure. We don’t have to suffer any longer. First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for injustice.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal.”

It sounds logical and simple enough, but I think we can all agree it’s not.

I would love to tell you that I have mastered the art of forgiveness, conquered my fears and cured my diseased mind, but that would be a big fat lie.

What I can tell you is that I know what it is like to feel alone, helpless and out of control; to constantly be reaching for a peace that never comes. I fight with my thoughts daily and sometimes it feels as though that inner voice is not my own.

In moments of great weakness, I begin to listen to that voice, that poison, dripping slowly from my open wounds. Reminding me of how I always end up this way; disregarded and alone.

The darkness becomes warm and familiar in the face of yet another failed attempt at happiness.

Not too long ago in fact, I took a little stroll down memory lane and found myself in the darkness.

After the most recent prospect of love crashed and burned, I was left feeling hopeless. I was exhausted of letting people in and being let down, of always being the one reaching for another, when no one ever seemed to be reaching for me.

And I couldn’t understand why this one hurt so much more than the one before. Especially because it was casual, no empty promises or deep confessions of love like with the one just before.

Perhaps it was the abrupt ending or the strong foundation of trust and communication it was built on that contributed to the gravity of it all.

Alone in the dark, I replayed the memories of our time together, looking for something I did that caused him to change his mind. Was it something I said, the way I looked, how I dressed…?!

I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what was wrong with me and why everyone found it so easy to walk away. Why didn’t I matter?

After some painful soul searching and ugly crying, I found myself numb.

It was just for a moment, but it was enough of a relief to allow a wave of sanity to roll through my head.

I had just purchased another copy of Ruiz’s, The Four Agreements and in that moment the cover of the book flashed in my mind.

Flipping through it, I found the excerpt above (can you guess what inspired this post?).

I realized that these current feelings of abandonment, neglect and disappointment go back much further than this most recent rejection. And I believe now that it was the level of connection with this person that triggered the opening of old wounds. I have only had that type of connection with one other person in my life and they left too.

This was the first time, I felt like I could fully trust someone again after all that time.

With the last person I fell for, I was always on guard. I never fully let him in. When it ended, it hurt, but not like this. Not like every muscle in my body was twisted up in knots.

This time, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and got completely caught up in the excitement of the moment. It all felt easy and fun, no pressure or obligations, just pure enjoyment in being close to one another.

When everything came to a crashing halt, so did I.

But that’s how we learn right?!

“First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely.”

It’s funny  how we convince ourselves that sparing someones feelings as best you can in love and war is better than a clear cut rejection like, “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same way.”

Sure, the knife goes in a bit deeper, but it twists less and after all isn’t that what prolongs the torture and agony of a broken heart?

For example, years ago, a guy told me he really cared for me but that he didn’t want to do the whole relationship thing. He has had two girlfriends since then, one of which he is currently dating. I kept hanging on to the idea of us, thinking that someday the timing would be right and it would all work out.

I don’t fault him for it, it is hard to look someone in the eyes and tell them you don’t love them. It’s like leaving behind a stray dog or telling a kid their parakeet died…not a pleasant experience.

Would it have been nice to know months earlier that he just wasn’t that into me, sure, but I learned a great deal about myself in the process and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Seems like so long ago now, I remember there was a time I thought I would never get over him and now he is just someone I used to know.

When we are feeling broken, we have a tendency to cling to the smallest shred of hope that someday everything will work out…

Here is where the hard truth comes in.

In most cases, someday never comes.  Trust me.

It is best to be honest with others and yourself in times such as these.

Clinging to the past, clouds your judgement, hinders your growth, and more importantly, prevents you from moving forward.

Embrace the chaos of opening old wounds. You have to remove the poison before they can fully heal.

“How do we do this?

We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for injustice.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal.”

 

Advertisements

It’s not always about you…

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was though? All about you?

Perhaps, but when you really stop to think about it, maybe not…

I made a declaration to myself this year that I would try my hardest to break out of this funky feeling I have been experiencing over the last few months.

The theme of my life during that time was one of overwhelming defeat. Most of which I brought on myself through negative thinking and over extending in order to please others.

Something that sounds like a good quality to have, but it can back fire very quickly!

It got to the point where I put my own needs aside to focus on the needs of others so much that I began to fall back into old patterns of self defeating behavior that inevitably led to a spout of depression deeper than anything I have felt in close to 10 years.

And the worst thing about it, was that there was no one to blame. No love gone wrong, no friendship lost or the passing of a loved one.

Sure, it felt like a part of me died inside and maybe it did, but if so, it was all my own doing and may have been the best thing for me.

It is hard to explain why, but I’ll try.

When I get into slumps like these, there will be a day or in many cases several days, where I crawl inside myself, shut out the rest of the world and swim in the abyss of thoughts swirling around in my head.

I completely detach from everything and everyone.

It sounds a bit unhealthy, but I have found it to be the only path to overcoming it.

The more I talk about what is bothering me, the more it seems to bother me. And the more it bothers me, the more I shut down. Until a day comes when I literally feel nothing at all.

And I mean that in all of its intensity.

It is as if I am in the audience of my own life.

I become resigned to the idea that all of this is meaningless.

There is so much beauty in the world, but yet so much pain and tragedy that reaching for appreciation becomes a mournful task.

After all, none of us know what’s next. We tell ourselves that these struggles, these constant battles with life to keep moving forward will all mean something in the end, but we will never know until we reach that end.

Dark, I know, but that is where I go and where I stay until something switches inside of me for reasons I will never know.

It is usually a process, like the shedding of ones skin or emerging from a cocoon.

Suddenly, I shine a little brighter.

And inspiration to creatively express myself returns. Which is when I compose some of my best posts.

All the time spent inside my mind, pours onto the page with little to no effort from me. I will be working on a project or driving somewhere and an idea will come out of nowhere!

It could be a word, a phrase or my favorite, some off the wall theory that I am convinced is the answer to one of life’s many oddities!

In most cases, during the beginning of my emergence back to reality, it’s poetry.

And for me, a poem is just a passing emotion.

The words just flow to me and I capture them.

Seems fitting I’d shed those first in order to make room for the big revelations.

Although there is a caveat to this resulting overflow of inspiration.

And I am sure it is something that is very frustrating  to a lot of writers who have their writing linked to their personal social media platforms.

At a certain point you begin to feel as though you lose the ability to freely express yourself, because people tend to read into things way too much and that can pose a whole new set of issues.

It can be very hindering to your writing when every time you sit down to write a post, you worry about how it will be received by those who are closest to you. There is no free expression there.

And why do I worry about this so much?

Because I am very good at over thinking things! Haha!

No but seriously…I have to remind myself daily that it’s not always about me!

And I know I am not the only one with this problem (or numerous others we may have in common). Which is the whole reason I share my thoughts.

I know what it’s like to feel alone.

“Every living creature on this earth dies alone…

 Does that scare you?

 I don’t want to be alone.”

Donnie Darko (2001)

As emotional beings, I think we all have a tendency to internalize and worry about things that are completely unnecessary and unjustified.

It can be extremely challenging not to take things personally and the more you care about someone, the more personal their behavior becomes.

However, in all reality it may have absolutely nothing to do with you. And although it is important to express to them how you are feeling, it is also important to keep in mind how they may be feeling.

It will help you with the difficult task of expressing how you feel, while being supportive and non-defensive.

An art I have not yet mastered, but I do my best…and it is never via my blog.

Hardly anything I write is directed towards someone or meant to rely some hidden message to those that have wronged me.

Of ‘course, my words may stem from an internal struggle, but by the time they hit the page, that is in the past.

I don’t play the passive aggressive game folks…if I am upset with you about something, you will hear about it! And I can assure you of that!

If you are close to me that means I value and respect you.

And I wouldn’t write some passive aggressive post about it, hoping you figure out it’s about you.

It should be pretty well known that when I have something to get off my chest, there is not much that will stop me from spewing it out (whether you like it or not!). It may take me a moment to compose my thoughts, but once they are composed, they must be released.  It’s self preservation.

I know that if I don’t say what I need to say (good or bad) it will eat away at me, because I will not be able to move forward without knowing the result of words unspoken.

Anyone of us could be taken from this world at any given time, so why wait?

How many people in your life have passed before you were able to tell them how much they meant to you?

For me there are just a few and I think about them all the time.

I don’t have a lot of regrets.

There was a time I would have said I had no regrets, but that’s not true.

There will always be…just a few.

 

People Change. 

What is it that you really want? What patterns in your life is it time to break?

These are the two questions that have been the focus of my 2018. I am tired of constantly being let down by others and I have realized that part of the reason it keeps happening is because of patterns in my own behavior that it is time to change.

Perhaps, I give people too much credit, to think the words they utter hold meaning and truth. Or maybe it is that their truth changes to fit their mood.

Either way, it is time that I stop being so naive.

I think I want so badly to see the good intentions in others that I end up overlooking the writing on the wall. Life doesn’t always have to be so complicated and it is time to stand up tall and start holding others and myself to a much higher standard.

I mean, is struggle really always necessary? Maybe, struggle and uncertainty are the first warning signs that you are traveling down the wrong road with the wrong person.

I have no desire to be with someone who has doubts about whether they want to be with me or someone who finds it easy to blow me off without thinking twice about my feelings.

And I sure as hell don’t want to be with someone who can’t communicate. Communication is everything in any relationship/friendship. Without it, you can’t have trust and without trust, you have nothing.

I’m too old to tip toe around shit. My time is just as precious as everyone’s and it’s time I remember that.

I am going to tell it like it is and I expect the same from those around me. If it’s too much for you to handle to be called out on your shit and call me out on mine, then let’s not waste one another’s time.

People change.

Someone you once never questioned as a person you could lean on can easily become the one who brings you to your knees.

The person whose arms once held you tight and made everything feel right again, can turn cold and distant; leaving you to wonder if they ever really cared at all.

The truth is that if someone truly cares for you (friend or lover), they make time for you. Not out of obligation, but because they genuinely care and want to spend time with you.

Distance doesn’t matter to a willing heart and if you are hanging on to someone who is not willing to go that distance, than I am sorry to tell you, but it’s time to move on.

You deserve better.

A New Reason to Smile

Like I said the other day, I think we forget sometimes, just how much power we have in creating the life we desire. Sure, there are a million things we can’t control, but the one thing we can control is how we think and therefore how we feel. I know it doesn’t always seem like that. Especially for anyone who battles with depression, anxiety or any other mentally challenging disorders. And I’m not saying it’s easy either, it’s not, but if we ever want to truly be content in this life, we must find a way to change the way we think.

That is the only way to change the way we feel and the negative belief system that has been ruling our lives. After all, a belief is just something you keep thinking over and over again; that doesn’t make it true.

You might be thinking, “Sure, that’s easy for you to say, your life is great!”

And I would reply, “Then, I must be doing a pretty good job of convincing myself it is!”

Hicks always says, “Fake it until you make it!” and that is literally what you have to do, almost every day.

Do you think I wake up every day happy and excited?

Well, I can tell you that is very rare.

For me, depression is like an evil villain lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on my good mood at any given moment. I never know when it will hit me or what the trigger will be. The only thing I do know for sure is that its visit is inevitable.

Every day before I open my eyes, I take the first thought that comes to mind and should it be a negative one, I take a deep breath and say to myself, “Not today” and then I reach for the closest positive thought I can find. And I continue to do that until I have moved my train of thought over to something or someone that makes me smile.

If that doesn’t work (and sometimes it doesn’t), I may surrender to the moment, but as soon as I have a chance to release those emotions, I take it.

Whether that be writing, painting or simply taking a moment to blubber about it, we all need an outlet. I have a friend who whenever they get upset, they go running and I have another friend who whenever they get upset, they go for a drive.

The point is, we are all human and part of being human means that we are emotional beings. There is nothing we can do to change that.

And emotions are meant to be expressed. It is when they are not that we find ourselves spinning out of control.

Which is why having a support system or at least one person who knows you as well as (if not more than) you know yourself, is detrimental in winning the fight.

We all need that one person who is understanding and supportive, but also not afraid to call us out on our shit!

Something I think we all need every once in a while 🙂

The minute you turn from the ones who care for you, you surrender completely to whatever it is that is causing you to feel that way.

Whether it is a person, a problem or an illness, when you turn away from the world and crawl inside yourself, you are giving up your power to change your circumstance.

You become, the title of one of my favorite Perfect Circle songs – Weak and Powerless.

Maybe this will only last a few months, but there is always a chance of permanence.

Darkness in a world full of color.

The longer you spend in the dark, the harder it becomes to find the light.

Why?

Because every thought you think, results in an emotion and every emotion another thought that leads to another emotion…you get the point.

“when you are feeling insecure you start to think the way you are feeling. Then, you begin to feel the way you think and feeling becomes the means of thinking. When this occurs, the mind becomes immersed in the body and you begin thinking as a body and not as a mind; it becomes your state of being.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza

So when we wallow and believe me, I can be the queen of wallowing sometimes, we begin to validate the negativity we are experiencing.

The story we tell ourselves is incredibly important. It forms the way we see the world and ourselves. As well as determines what we attract into our current reality.

This was a huge revelation I had back in 2016 and it has been my savior over the past few years when it comes to pulling myself back from the downward spiral of emotions that can pull me away from my path.  I wrote a post about it that you can find here, What is Your Story?

Obviously, I have not yet mastered the art and perhaps I never will, but at least I’m trying.

And some part of it must be working, because I am seeing evidence of it more and more as time goes on.

Take for instance that last few months or even all of last year for that matter. It has been an emotional roller coaster for me.

My heart has been broken, friends have let me down and in many cases, I have let myself down, but despite the disappointments of the past, I am still going strong!

I have learned that although it is natural to feel defeated at times or get caught up in someone or some event in our lives, if we dwell in this place for too long, we may let something amazing walk right on by.

Life has a funny way of working itself out and it is way too short to hold on to the people who do not value you or cling to the mistakes of the past. This life is about moving forward, not backward.

Sometimes what we want and what we need are completely opposed to one another and that is just all there is to it.

How do we know the difference?

That is a tough question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot based on my own experiences.

First of all, you should never have to beg for love and/or attention from someone who truly cares for you, because to those who truly care it is something you will never have to question. Words are merely words and leave the lips of the deceitful just the same as they do from those with good intentions.

The difference is that those with good intentions validate those words with actions. We all make mistakes and behave in ways we are not proud of, so I am not saying you should dismiss anyone who doesn’t put you on a pedestal – that’s a bit extreme!

It is okay to give someone a chance to make amends, but be careful about letting them off too easy. The word sorry is over used and over appreciated in my opinion and it is again just a word. True amends are made by going the extra mile, not just apologizing for what you did wrong.

The day you embrace this knowledge you will find that you hold not only yourself, but everyone-else in your life to a higher standard.

And I assure you, when you least expect it, you will cross paths with someone you may have never seen coming, had you been too busy chasing after someone else.

And the same advice is relevant with circumstances too.

Just like people, opportunities will come and go in your life, you just have to try your best to ensure you are going after the right ones and not spending too much time trying to make the wrong ones into something they are not.

We are all in this together… some of us just weren’t meant to walk next to one another.

Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Choice

I love this movie/book so much and below is one of my favorite quotes. I think sometimes we forget that we are in charge of our own lives. We are constantly faced with choices & decisions that together shape the future.

I see so many people staying in situations where they are unhappy, but they continually make excuses for why it simply couldn’t be any other way. From unhealthy relationships to stressful employment, they continually allow themselves to lead a life they don’t want and hold themselves back from finding true happiness.

I have been guilty of it myself, which is why I no longer hold much hesitation when it comes to expressing the way I feel, even if it might not be what someone wants to hear. I don’t want to waste their time and I am sure as hell not going to waste any more of my own candy coating or tip toeing around the subject…that’s just silly.

And besides, if life has taught me anything, it is that with the ones you love and those that truly love you in return, that is not something you need to worry about, because you appreciate one another just the way you are.

“Now, pay attention, cause I’m about to tell you the secret to life…

Ready?

The whole damn thing is about decisions.

Little seemingly insignificant decisions that  clear the road for monster truck like altering ones.

You see, every path you take, leads to another choice.

And some choices…can change everything.

Every damn moment of the rest of your life hangs on them.

And boy do I have a choice to make…”

The Choice – 2016 directed by Ross Katz and written by Bryan Sipe, based on Nicholas Sparks‘ 2007 novel of the same name