Monday, December 31, 2012
All my life I’ve been adamant that complete honesty is the best policy, no matter what. I would rather know the truth than live in some false sense of happiness. I don’t want the illusion of happiness – it isn’t real, and it is only a matter of time before that tumbles to the ground. Complete truth and honesty is what I require. Everyone deserves the truth and the ability to decide how they want to handle it. I hated people who felt like “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her”, and I couldn’t understand people who could lie to themselves or turn a blind eye to problems.
Well, a while ago I got my experience with that. It drove me nuts, because I knew what was happening, but I let it, anyway. It came from a place of fear and helplessness. I just didn’t care anymore. I gave up. “Life sucks and people suck, and I just don’t want to deal with the problems. I know they are there, but screw it. Can’t I be happy for five seconds?” Those thoughts drove my actions, but my heart screamed back in protest, so I had this inner conflict with myself that at times made me physically sick.
Instead of trying to process, deal with and accept imperfections, I was trying to completely block them out. I was doing exactly what I hated – building a false reality. But I couldn’t fool my heart. It knew better, and it wouldn’t let me be completely happy. Once I really came to terms with what I was doing, and gathered the strength to do the right thing, I finally put a stop to it. I had the tough conversations and made the tough choices that would allow me to lay everything on the table and process the truth, so that the pieces could fall where they would. I resolved all the issues that were tearing away at me.
In all honesty, the whole experience wasn’t that horrible. I learned a lot, and made some changes within myself. For me, at least, even just blocking out problems meant that deep down I had convinced myself it wasn’t something I needed to deal with right now. Somewhere deep down, I’d already analyzed the situation and had determined that it was acceptable for the time being. My gut was acting irrationally, but I trusted it. Since normally I am really strict and a perfectionist, I think this was a good experience for me to go through. It helped me loosen up a little. I gave myself a little dose of not creating a big fuss about every little thing. I still had my limits, and when they were reached, I still stood up for myself, expressed myself and did what I needed to do.
I think going through that will help me analyze my problems in the future. Maybe I’ll listen to that deep down voice, and though I will not block problems out, I’ll listen to it and decide to not get quite as worked up over some things.
What do you think? Would you rather live a lie but feel like everything is perfect, or would you rather know the ugly truth and deal with it?
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Honesty and authenticity are very important to me. That’s why I’ve decided to also post when I feel like I’m having setbacks. It happens to all of us. As long as we don’t let it paralyze us, it is okay and natural. We just have to listen and learn from the setbacks.
The setbacks I’m having are simply thoughts. Negative thoughts slipped back in. Not even to specific people, just an overall general thought. A voice that says, “Why should I accept people who go against their own moral code? I can dislike people for being bad. I should! What’s the point of all this? This isn’t going to change who I accept as far as a future husband. My standards are still going to be the same.”
Now it’s time to reason with that inner voice; take those negative feelings and remind myself why I’m doing this, and how I’m not jeopardizing my own morals and values by doing this.
For starters, the point isn’t to be okay with people behaving badly. The point is to accept it and not let it personally affect me; to separate it from myself. If I can have some influence over it, like giving advice to a friend, that’s fine. If I can’t, I need to be able to not get upset about it. Sometimes during this process I start confusing accepting and approving people’s behaviors. Acceptance in this way is a very hard thing to learn on its own, because, at least at first, it feels so similar to condoning and being “okay” with something, and that I cannot and will not do. That’s even been my own personal definition of “acceptance”, I think. The difference here is what I’m accepting exactly. I’m not approving of their actions. I simply need to understand their actions based on their life experiences that made them into who they are. Based on that life, I should understand those actions, because there must be needs and deficits that the person is trying to fill, and their actions are leading them down a road that they think will provide them. I don’t need to approve – I just need to understand.
The last part of what my inner voice said shouldn’t even be relevant. Yes, I’m hoping that this process will adjust my perspective such that someone in the world can be good enough for me to marry, but that is way down the line. That has no bearing on this process. This needs to be done regardless, and I’m sure it will help a little bit, at least. My standards don’t have to change. It would actually just change how I match people up against my standards. (As a side note, sometimes people say “standards” and they mean things such as whether they have a clean house, whether they make a lot of money, whether they like dogs or rock music. That’s not what my standards are. My standards are all about character; what type of person they are; the decisions they make; and how they view people, girls, relationships, etc. I find everything else to be pretty superficial and irrelevant in the long-run.)
Hardships are always opportunities for growth. They make you stronger and more capable. I think I just got worried that I was losing myself and wasn’t going to get anything out of it. That’s a fair fear to have, but that isn’t going to happen. This is only going to make me better. This will have positive consequences for me and others. Understanding my fear and convincing myself out of it with truths has helped me strengthen my resolve.
What can you learn from your hardships? How can you use the truth to talk yourself out of your fears?
Saturday, December 29, 2012
How much of your fears, habits and beliefs stem solely from a single traumatizing event, or a few similar events?
Especially in our younger years, a lot of minor things can traumatize us and change the way we live and interact with others. Over the years I’ve realized that about a lot of different things for me. One of which is probably how I’m generally friends with guys, and not girls. I think possibly a few bad experiences with girls, and a couple good experiences with guys, pushed me in the direction of trusting guys to be my friend and girls to reject me or backstab. And everything from that point on would be interpreted to fit into that framework, whether it should or not. That might be why, today, I connect and relate more with guys - because I grew up aligning myself with guys. I ended up as somewhat of a tomboy, and I hate girlie things with a passion. I may be over-analyzing, but I mean, it isn’t a completely out-there concept. I’m not sure how much I can do about it now, though. It’s already shaped my life, influenced my interests and habits, and it is now hard for me to relate to girls. However, making the realization about this baggage may help me to remove unnecessary roadblocks that keep me from interacting with girls I could actually get along with, if it wasn’t for my prejudice. I’m filtering out people for stupid reasons who could be exactly the kinds of people I want to surround myself with, and therefore making it easier for others that maybe I shouldn’t surround myself with to slip in, simply because they have an edge at the hand of my baggage. That’s a horrible way to live. You have to let things go, and realize that everyone is their own person. Do not project the sins of others onto those in front of you. You wouldn’t want someone to do that to you, because it isn’t fair. The same goes for them.
Are there situations from your past that influence how you see people? How can you work towards giving everyone a fair chance to show you who they are?
Monday, December 24, 2012
“It’s not real; it’s just tv.” Those words anger me so much. I’ll leave my arguments for the second section. For this first section, I want to actually agree with that statement. As always, this is my own take. I have not looked up the history of television or anything. Having said that… television is supposed to transport us out of reality. We mainly see people who are much more attractive than most people and are made-up to look flawless. We see events that don’t always happen in real life. Everything is SCRIPTED. Just because something happened a certain way on tv doesn’t mean it will in real life, because someone thought through and wrote that scenario, the complications and the consequences. It’s not the same as real life. Some aspects may be, but overall, it is all fantasy. People like movies and tv shows where they can go, “Yeah, I wish life was like that, or that I was like that.” (That’s not always true but I think a good portion of the time it is). It feeds curiosities and desires.
Okay, now it’s time to let me off the leash. Society and the media are either ignorantly or knowingly damaging us, especially kids. It is not “just” tv. Television and video games (in addition to parents and role models, if they have any good ones) are shaping the way kids see the world. All of that shows them what is acceptable behavior, expected behavior, consequences of behavior, etc. We, as adults, can handle some of the concepts and fantasy that is on television, because we understand my first section: It isn’t real; that’s not how people actually are; you wouldn’t ACTUALLY do those things. But kids don’t know that yet. They are being desensitized to drugs, sex and violence. They are getting comfortable with those concepts, and not seeing why it is bad, because no one on tv seems to think it is bad, and anyone who does isn’t “cool”. Consequences for all of that are not shown, and if they are, they are drowned out by everything else. This upcoming generation, especially, is more aggressive, more promiscuous and is less likely to see why drugs are bad. Everything influences kids. With most people indulging in the fantasy aspect of everything, kids are growing up thinking they should expect all that. That that’s reality, not fantasy. Society is feeding obsessions and addictions that need to be managed by the individual. Really, the parents should be doing their part to tell their kids the difference between right and wrong, as well as manners and respect for others.
*Deep breath* Now let’s reel me back in. This is what I’m talking about – about things upsetting me so much, and how it stresses me out. This is why I need to learn acceptance. Let’s try to turn that into a positive and make steps towards acceptance. The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m doing exactly what I’m complaining about. I’m looking at the media and deciding “everyone” is a certain way. What a hypocrite! I’m sure there are a lot of people out there with good wholesome values. Just because the people I’ve encountered and the media have portrayed a certain reality does not mean everyone is like that. You can’t judge all people by a small, biased sample. If I did that with everything, then I’d also have to assume that everyone in the world except for me likes Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings (it feels that way a lot!) but I know that isn’t true. There are all sorts of people out there.
The next thing I can realize is that perhaps others have an inward sense of respect, manners, morals and other good traits, while they allow the media to show them a life they would never themselves take part in. While I still don’t agree with this, this is easier to deal with than assuming people condone all the actions and concepts depicted in movies, tv and other forms of media. They play into the fantasy aspect, while separating it from themselves and their own life. I can’t do that. If I hate something, I hate it. It doesn’t matter if it is “real” or not. The concept will upset me. What it implies will upset me. What everyone else thinks about it or accepts about it will upset me. However, if others can separate themselves from it, then good for them. Maybe that is something I can learn from. I don’t have to like or condone things – I don’t even have to watch it – but I do need to be able to separate it from me, such that it does not upset me. I guess, in that case, they’ve already learned acceptance. They can watch things they don’t agree with or are against without cringing and getting fired up.
You know what? I think one of my problems is that I’m in other peoples’ heads too much. You’ve heard “I’m in my head” – well I’m in the heads of others. While I’m great at guessing what people are thinking, and can finish people’s sentences and make them realize things about themselves, I cannot know everything in their head. So when I watch something I hate, and my head starts spitting out what I think everyone else who sees it is thinking, I’m not doing myself any favors. The media and some of my friends that parrot (or even started?) the voices in my head at these times are not everyone. For example, some guys (hopefully?) can watch a girl walk across a street without exclaiming, “Hot!” Maybe I’ve just been around some crummy people that have traumatized me into thinking everyone except me is a pervert, and therefore I assume everything and everyone is disgusting and hedonistic deep down. How much of the thoughts I have concerning all of that are true 100% of the time, and how much are only true for some people, and even then only part of the time? Maybe all the things I hate about society are really only traits that are present in those around me, and they are magnified by the problems of the media. Maybe. That’s quite a lot to ponder
I think I’ll stop there and reflect over the holidays. I’ll leave you with this: What beliefs do you have that may just be observations of a biased sample of people or experiences, as opposed to an overall truth? Can you open your mind to new truths and new realities?
Sunday, December 23, 2012
My fascination with why people are the way they are extends beyond psychology into more standard types of science; beyond people into the universe. I love watching Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole as well as Dark Matters: Twisted But True. What I just witnessed was a form of meditation called Tummo Yoga. I’m just now discovering this, so forgive me if my description is incomplete, but the point of this meditation really hit home for me. The purpose of this meditation is to rid yourself of negative thoughts or phenomena from the outside world; to be able to be blissful and centered despite everything around you. Really sounds like what I’m after, huh?
Through the Wormhole explains that in the Himalayas, Tibetan monks wrap themselves in frozen sheets in a very cold atmosphere, and while they meditate, the body temperature on their skin raises 17 degrees while their core remains normal. Here’s another description from Wikipedia:
Kuṇḍalinī-yoga offered a range of techniques to harness the powerful psycho-physical energy coursing through the body... Most people simply allow the energy to churn in a cauldron of chaotic thoughts and emotions or dissipate the energy in a superficial pursuit of pleasure, but a yogi or yogini consciously accumulates and then directs it for specified purposes. This energy generates warmth as it accumulates and becomes an inner fire or inner heat (candālī) that [potentially] burns away the dross of ignorance and ego-clinging.
Shaw, Miranda (1995). Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-691-01090-0.
I love it. I knew Buddhism was going to have all sorts of wisdom and techniques to learn from. I can’t what to find out what other secrets of the soul it can reveal.
So bringing this back to acceptance: How can we find a place within ourselves to stay grounded and accepting despite everything going on around us? In order to do this, it takes an enormous amount of inner strength. Extreme scenarios where everything around you is horrifying and deplorable test you the most. This puts such a humbling perspective on things. Like a co-worker of mine said recently, “It’s how you handle the people who are difficult to love that says the most about you.” He went on to say how nice, friendly people are easy to love and be nice to. Everyone can do it. It’s dealing with the people who are hard to interact with that truly exposes your character. I love that. So if you are nice, friendly, giving and optimistic most of the time, but when things get hard and you run off, ignore reality, maybe even drown yourself in some sort of indulgence… well, that says something about you. A crisis will expose your true nature. Things or people that are easy to manage will not.
Look around you. Are there situations that allow you to test your character? When things get tough, how do you handle them? How can you work on making yourself better in these circumstances?