Monday, September 30, 2013

Next Step into the Arts and Beyond

I have a new sense of excitement and hope these days. I’m once again acknowledging that I am an artistic and creative person, and I’m finally giving myself full permission to pursue all aspects of that. I feel like although I loved dance, art and music, I grew up thinking those were silly hobbies, not anything someone could make a living at. I went into engineering instead, since that’s what “smart, mature and responsible people do”. While there are some real truths behind the financial aspects of making a living in those fields, I allowed myself to be brainwashed into thinking those things were a waste of time or not a priority. Only one in a million make it in those areas, because they are amazingly good, and the odds were way against me. That’s what society and caring parents teach kids, right? Forget all that silly stuff and go for something practical so you can afford a house, food, etc.

Okay, well I’ve done all that. Now it’s time to be happy – to make happiness a priority. To fulfill my purpose.

Sometimes I catch myself starting to feel regret, thinking I should have followed my dreams and not gone down the road I did. But for starters, I didn’t even know WHAT I wanted as far as dreams - I just knew I wanted it to be more artistic and creative. And second… everything happens in preparation for your purpose. I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything I went through. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve enjoyed the progression of my career. I’ll bet you anything that everything I’ve done and learned will play a significant role when I’m finally living my purpose. It had to be the way it was – now it’s time to be the way it needs to be NOW.

Now I have to undo all the damage and search really hard within myself to start brushing away all the insecurities and judgments I have. My inability to express myself is PAINFULLY obvious to me now. I’ve sucked up all my emotions because I feel like no one cares or I’m not allowed to feel happiness or even sadness, so I’m working to fix that. That actually sounds funny looking at it… not allowed to be happy OR sad? Wow, quite the dilemma.

My social skills are much better than they were, but still leave much to be desired, because I still don’t know how best to react to things. Be supportive because I care even though I disagree, or timidly disagree because I do but I don’t want to be mean, or just flat out disagree and potentially start an argu… I mean, “discussion”? I eventually would like to feel comfortable expressing my opinion without feeling as though I’m putting someone down. Maybe part of me IS putting them down, which is why I feel that way. So I’m working on that one, too. And what about when someone tells a joke that is “okay” but not hilarious? I need to be comfortable laughing the appropriate amount for ME and not just trying to be polite… I see all of this now. I mean, I always saw it, but it didn’t matter. I strongly voice my opinions on topics I care about, and everything else I just stay polite on, because it doesn’t matter to me. But maybe I should feel more comfortable expressing my true reactions, regardless of how much it matters or doesn’t matter.

As I work on all of that, I’ve decided to get more involved in the arts again. I’m SO excited just thinking about it! Of course I have dance, but I’m also going to start taking vocal lessons, and maybe even some acting classes! I want to try to get back into poetry, music and drawing, as well. These are all just thoughts at the moment, because I have a lot of events coming up right now. I might wait until after the holidays, but that will be perfect – I can shop around for great places to pick these things back up.

I’m opening my life up to new possibilities! Who knows what will happen!!!! I haven’t felt that way in…. geez, I don’t even know when. I never had such HOPE and EXCITEMENT before! I really did feel like I was stuck. Like I did everything I was told and I had the job and then I guess I just… do it until I die. Switching jobs when necessary, of course. But I have nothing to live FOR or to spend the money ON or be HAPPY about… and then of course there is the whole MY PURPOSE being to HELP people thing… So I’m SUPER EXCITED to see how this all plays out! It’s like a movie with twists and turns, where you don’t know what’s going to happen next… then at the end you’re like, ohhhhh I see how that happened! You watch it again and notice all the hints along the way, and you see how it all fits together… that’s going to be my life. And that’s going to be YOUR life. You just have to, literally, dare to dream. And truly, it is all about believing in yourself and giving yourself permission to be who you are, and PERMISSION TO DREAM. And depending on how your life has gone, that may be a tough thing to do – I know it has been for me, which is odd, because I thought I was, and it’s all been very obvious the whole time – it’s really just a matter of changing your perspective. Sometimes you need a little push from something… and for me it was definitely The Untethered Soul and The Daily Love, and everything that followed those discoveries, accompanied by my open heart and mind to a new way of thinking, since where I was at CLEARLY was NOT working for me.

Love yourself. Comfort and care for YOURSELF as you’d do for a child. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You DO deserve it!

For the first time ever I’m excited about my future, and I believe in myself. Like Mastin said in a recent Daily Love post, we just have to focus on one step at a time.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How to React to Insulting Advice

When people imply an insult to me, specifically about something that I KNOW is a STRENGTH of mine, I get really angry and upset, and my heart closes up and starts racing

Sometimes people might think they are trying to help. But they’re not.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows I am responsible and prepared. Especially those I’m about to talk about, because they’ve literally said it and come to me for help because of it.

The other day at work I sat in the break room eating my lunch. When I was done, I went to the bathroom before coming back to clean my dishes, collect my stuff and go back to my desk. I left a couple personal items on the table as I went to the bathroom for a minute… since I was coming right back, and the area is safe and secure.

An hour later, a bunch of us were walking down the hall. My friend/co-worker asked if I’d gotten my personal items from the break room.

I was furious. I just gave him this look, like “Why are you asking me that…” and said “….Yes…..” I didn’t yell at him, but I wanted to. In my head I’m like, “Are you trying to say something? You trying to say I’m incompetent? You trying to look better than me? Trying to embarrass me in front of these other people, and make me look like a forgetful idiot? Like I rely on you or something? What the hell??? What was that??”

I’ll get through my stories before I analyze my reaction.

So later we’re talking about pets, and I say how one day I want a dog. I’ve discussed this with him before. He knows I’m responsible, obviously… and I’ve discussed why I don’t have a dog right now… and we’ve commented on how other people potentially are not responsible enough to take care of a dog… But to me, he says, “Do you really understand how much work it is to have a dog?”

Seriously?????????? You did NOT just say that to me.

“….Yes. I’ve had a dog before.”
“Yeah, but were YOU the one doing all the work to take care of him?”
“No. But regardless I know how much work it is…. HENCE I DON’T HAVE A DOG RIGHT NOW… I am not in a place in my life to have one…”

I’ve TOLD him that before… And I’m possibly the most responsible and capable person he knows… Boy, did my blood start boiling. Really? Did he really just act that PATRONIZING towards me? So ignorantly condescending?

Okay, that’s enough of my reaction from my ego. Time to break it down.

As we know, when you get upset with someone, it is because it triggered a pain within you. I know that. I know it makes no sense to literally be mad at him for this stuff, and especially to start attacking back in my mind. It’s all a defense. Regardless of his intentions, it shouldn’t bother me as much as it did. If it is so ridiculous, I really should be laughing at the matter. And yet I’m not.

I already know that I have a huge issue with people implying I’m incompetent. That word was used a lot as I was growing up, and it was essentially the worst thing you could ever be, aside from a slut. But someone calling ME a slut would be completely ridiculous, since I am almost the complete opposite, so I’d laugh at it if someone tried to say it. But I’ve been made to feel stupid and incompetent before, so that one isn’t funny. Plus, that’s how I judge other people, too, unfortunately… but I’m working on it. So that’s why this one gets way under my skin.

Let’s neutralize the situation by remembering who the source is. Remember that when people say things, it is more about them than about the other person. I know the issues he has had with having a dog, so really he is merely pointing out things HE learned – like how much work it is to actually take care of a dog. So I’m here saying, “Really? YOU are saying this to ME?” When the thing I’m referring to is exactly the point… most likely he is pointing out what he realized along the way. And really, especially with this guy, anything about me is completely left out of consideration to the advice he gives. And that’s actually true about… everyone, probably. I try really hard to cater my advice to the person I’m talking to, but the original advice comes from what I have learned. So yeah, advice people give has little to nothing to do with the person it is given to, and a whole lot to do with the person giving it. He’s not even thinking about how responsible or prepared I am when he’s speaking, even though he complimented me on it the day before. It’s just not even occurring to him at this moment, because that’s not where his advice is coming from. It’s coming straight from his own life experiences.

Granted, that is all a guess. But it makes me feel better, and I’m fairly sure it is true. So now that we’ve neutralized it, let’s take it the next step.

Regardless of WHY he said it, it shouldn’t be bothering me. That part is something within ME that I have to fix. I’m giving these silly words extra meaning and letting them affect significant portions of my day and my attitude. Even if he meant it how I originally took it, it doesn’t matter if he thinks I’m incompetent. He can believe whatever he wants – it doesn’t affect anything and it doesn’t make it true. Take what resonates and leave the rest, right? So if nothing resonated, just leave it all. That is EXTREMELY hard to do when it brushes up against your triggers. But I’m self-aware enough to remind myself of it until I return to a calm state.

I really don’t know how to react in those situations though. I know I don’t want to attack and yell, but I can’t really just get up and walk away, either. I’ve been giving an angry look and changing the subject, then stepping away to breathe later. Is that a good reaction? I guess for a baby-step it is. Eventually I should be able to actually compliment them on suggesting things like that, but let them know I’ve already considered it or taken care of it. That’s probably my goal as far as a reaction.

Yeah. I like that. I’m insulted because I already know all of that, and I think I’m really smart. So really I should just praise them for being smart, too. That’s the healthy reaction! The loving reaction, instead of the fearful reaction!

So the bottom line is, instead of thinking, “Wow, you don’t get me at ALL if you suggested THAT…” I need to a) remember that people give advice based on their own experiences, and it generally isn’t catered towards the person receiving the advice, and b) if it’s something I already know, I should pay them a compliment for also knowing it.

Hopefully this helps you in your own conflicts!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Am Too Reserved

I just had an epiphany. It’s pretty obvious… but I am too reserved. I’m too scared of looking weird, awkward, annoying, raw, sexy…. ANYTHING. So I hold back. I hold back ALL of me without even knowing it. I want to look strong and badass, or professional and polite, so I put forth whichever one is appropriate at the time, but everything else is withheld and its existence is denied.

I was talking with my friend about a commercial where someone is singing in the car, really going at it. Then they pull up to a stoplight and make eye contact with people in the car next to them. He stops and looks away, trying to play it off all cool. When they drive off, he starts rocking out again. If you know what commercial I’m talking about, no worries, I’ll get to all of THAT in another post ;)

I thought it was hilarious, because doesn’t that happen to everyone? You’ll be belting along with the radio and then stop when you pull up to another car… But my friend said that’s insecurity. And I’m like, eh, kind of… not really. It’s not a real “insecurity”. It’s not the same. That’s a weird thing to call insecurity.

But the more I let that sink in throughout the day, the more I realize how right my friend was.

I think in my mind I went directly to the next extreme (which is how I feel he is sometimes) – being completely obnoxious and not caring how it affects anyone around you. That, to me, is the alternative to this “insecurity” of things like rocking out to songs on the radio and not caring who sees or hears you. And I don’t think that’s right. But it doesn’t have to be the opposite extreme. He’s right – you stop because you don’t want to be judged. You don’t want people to think you are weird. That, deep down, IS insecurity.


So later I hear this song in a commercial, and I look it up. It’s this girl with a YouTube channel who does cover songs (YouTube channel: ItsMashaBitch). She is EXCELLENT! She has that raw, raspy rock voice and is full of emotion. Her videos show her actually recording the songs. She gets SO into it. She clearly doesn’t care about looking awkward, and you can TELL. You can TELL because she has so much CONFIDENCE and throws herself at the song with such ABANDON that it is actually really beautiful… even though I know I’d look completely ridiculous if I were to do the same thing.

And then it all started flooding to me. She has confidence in that area where my friend and I were talking about insecurity. She can get into every emotion. She EMBODIES it. I can’t even do that. I can’t put that much emotion into it. That’s been apparent in my dance classes, too. I was getting a little better, but I’ve always just been so RESERVED. And I know why. It’s because no one ever cared. When I DID express my emotions, I got dismissed, ridiculed, ignored or yelled at. So I learned to just shut up and be quietly sad. Anger, sure, I can do that one. But nothing involving any of those “bad” emotions, like desire, yearning, despair, joy… I don’t even know how to describe it. But now I know. I need to figure out how to express what’s within – express it without feeling awkward. It’s GOING to be awkward at first, because I’ve repressed all those emotions. But I need to figure out how to let everything within me OUT, and ACCEPT it, and LOVE it. Things that I don’t even know are THERE right now.

I guess mimicking this Masha girl isn’t the answer, but maybe it’s a start? If I can attempt to throw myself at music with the abandon that she has, maybe it’ll open a door into how I express myself. Maybe it will invite that side of me to come out and play.

Really interesting stuff. Really fascinating. I knew I had issues, but damn. I didn’t realize I had quite so many. I’m glad I’m working through them…

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Lesson In My "No One 'Gets' Me!" Issue

Today I had a double lesson. I feel like I learned a lesson, and then was immediately hit with a similar situation to see if I could apply it.

I heard an interview with a comedian where he discussed such insightful and profound truths in a somewhat light-hearted way, and I just HAD to share it with one of my friends. I thought it was amazing and showed how I viewed people in that aspect and would help him see his actions and reactions for what they were and would help him grow and have a moment of enlightenment.

He did not have the reaction I expected.

He was laughing at parts I didn't think he should be laughing at, and when he was trying to express that he did get the message, it was all wrong. It was all surface-stuff. Too literal. He didn't see how it applied to MORE than the EXAMPLE. It translates into a whole MENTALITY and PERSPECTIVE.

It started really upsetting me, and I, of course, began explaining what he SHOULD have gotten out of that video.

As a self-aware person, the more upset I got, the more confused I got. Why was it upsetting me so much? I know him being "wrong" isn't what was upsetting me, so why was it getting to me? Did I want to be appreciated for helping him? Was it a control thing? What was my problem?

So I got some space and thought about it. None of the things I just mentioned felt right, so I kept diving deeper into these feelings, and I realized what it was.

It upsets me so much because it reminds me how alone I am when people won't get on my level, mentally.

I'm really just saying, "Join me! Hear me! Understand me! I'm not alone, you're with me, right? You see what I see, right?" and it's like he is saying "No."

But he's not. That's ridiculous. It clearly isn't about me. But that's how I'm taking it - as a reminder how alone and misunderstood I am. I want people to join me on this journey, to understand things I've known forever and to understand all the pains that have caused the issues I have. To "get" me. I don't want to be alone. That's the underlying issue there.

So then later a few of us started talking about hobbies. One friend's hobbies are all expensive projects, and I keep telling him to look for other things to enjoy. He was complaining about not having the money to do things he enjoyed. I jumped in and tried to convey the message that the mentality of "I need money to do things I enjoy and to be happy" is the problem. They both said together, "But you DO need money." Annoyed, I said, "Yes, I understand that, but living in that perspective is blocking you from getting out of that mindset and finding things you enjoy." They acted like I was crazy.

They just are not hearing what I'm saying. They are living in the "lack" and "excuse" mentality and defending it against my words. Like I told them, I'm not arguing that that's not true, I'm just saying don't let it stop you from finding activities to enjoy and being happy - make it work. It's that MINDSET that is keeping you from finding things to enjoy. It's a limiting belief! It’s a blocker! An excuse! Hear me!!! Understand me!! What I’m saying is true, how are you not comprehending it!! How am I not communicating it effectively enough??

As someone who has read all these books and reads The Daily Love, this is just a no-brainer. But to them it was ridiculous.

I took it a step further in my head. I imagined them judging me like I don't know the value of money or something. People have done that before. THEY’VE done that before. Attacking me and discrediting me doesn't make what I'm saying any less true...... It's the exact same thing that we all do in every area of our lives.

"I can't take part in activities I enjoy because I have no money."
Same for me, except mine is:
"I can't take part in activities I enjoy because I'm not skinny yet."

Same concept, same perspective, same kind of limiting beliefs.

Either they refuse to hear me, or I'm projecting my own issues that I'm currently conquering onto them. Or both. Or, to be fair, neither. Regardless, I started getting upset about it, but then I remembered the situation earlier when I realized I was only upset because it reminded me how alone I was. Then it started to not bother me as much, and faded away.

The truth will set you free!

It exposes another issue of mine, though. I hate it when I feel people think I said something stupid or ignorant, when I know I didn't. That's a huge issue for me. Like when they said, "....But you DO need money." It's like, yeah, duh, you need money to survive in this society. I get that. I'm not arguing it. But don't use it as an excuse. Stop using it as an excuse to not live your life. Stop using it as an excuse why you can't do the things you love. You don't have the time, the money, the looks... they are all excuses. If it matters to you, you will find a way. You just want to be miserable, so you are. I know that's what I've been doing, and I know that's what some of them are doing, too. They just can see it deep enough. They are just looking at it on the surface.

But it's not my problem. I shouldn't get so worked up about it. It's not my job to fix them, and it's not their job to meet me at my level just so I can be happy about it and not feel alone. They are doing perfectly fine on their journey at their own pace. Don't take it so personally that they don't see what you are saying. It's not a reason to get defensive or upset. I just feel like I have to defend what I said to change their idea that I said something ignorant… because I’m terrified of being seen as ignorant, because I’m not… I probably have that fear because of how I was raised….

Sigh. We all have these moments, when we start getting upset and there is no logical reason why it should be upsetting us that much. The important thing is that we are aware and exercise as much patience and compassion as possible, not only to those who are upsetting us, but to ourselves, as well.