Holding on to past hurts?

Is there anyone from your middle or high school that you remember who used to tease, bully, or laugh at you, making you feel like the lowest piece of dirt? Was it a popular girl or a boy who you liked? How did they make you feel? Insecure? Angry? Unworthy? Desperately wanting to belong, or vice versanot wanting to be anything like them? Did that affect you enough to make a significant impact on your future? 

I certainly remember being looked down and laughed at. I wasn’t rich and spoiled. I was poor and shy. I was also smart enough that I was asked for answers every time a popular girl (or boy I liked) needed to cheat on her test. I wasn’t raised to fight back, but instead I was taught to be kind to people and treat them the way I wanted to be treated. I was a conformist. I still am in a lot of ways. No matter how hurt I felt by snarky remarks in my past, I would never refuse to help the offender. I knew I was at least smarter and that made me feel better about myself. 

There was one girl in particular. She always acted like she was better than everyone else. She always dressed well, smoked, drank, and was sexually active, which was attributes of popular girls in my school. She acted like she was a grown up and we were all just kids; that was in tenth grade! The way she looked me up and down always made me feel low and worthless. Not that her opinion really mattered because I neverhad respect for her and never wanted to be anything like her, but subconsciously I couldn’t help feeling humiliated. Because of the unfortunate situation at home, I was already feeling extremely insecure, it didn’t help that some people at school were treating me like garbage. 

I didn’t realize how much it really affected me until I moved to America and after some unpleasant events started working on my inner world. I suddenly remembered that girl and realized how angry I was with her. I really wanted to kick her butt and explain how nasty she was to me. Soon enough, I found out that she too lives in the States! I had my chance to find her and get her straight. Somehow, we got connected on Facebook and she messaged me. She was so sweet and seemed so happy to talk to me that all my hurt suddenly just disappeared. I was satisfied with the fact that she doesn’t think of me as a piece of dirt. She was just a teenager who was too prideful. Making fun of me was just a way for her to feel better about herself. How silly. I also noticed that she wasn’t that “cool” anymore. She got married and had kids, and had a normal job. I even started liking her and invited her to visit sometime. I hope we do meet and laugh at our high school times. 

If you ever got hurt by someone in the past, and there is an opportunity to talk to that person, connect and just see how they are doing. You might be surprised to see that they are completely different than they were before, and you might even become friends. Kids and teenagers are sensitive. They struggle with identity issues and many others. They might be hurting too!

If you were to connect with someone from the past who belittled you, who would that be? What would you say to them as an adult? Or would you not say anything at all? Would you share those memories with you kids? What advice would you give to your children if they experience similar things in school?

 

Beating Yourself Up?

Are you one of those people who “beat” themselves up every time something goes wrong?

 

Did you say or do something you shouldn’t have?

Overreacted?

Fell back into your bad habit?

Called out from work?

Didn’t call a friend back?

Yelled at your kid? Gave your children French fries instead of blueberries?

Overate?

Had too much to drink?

Procrastinated?

Forgot to pray?

Didn’t get dishes done?

Said no to a family gathering but chose to stay home instead?

Didn’t get anything done on your To-Do list?

Judged someone for their “bad” attitude?

Watched TV instead of reading a book?

Slept in instead of doing yoga in the morning?

 

The list can go on and on. If you are like me, you have beaten yourself up for one or more of these at least once in your life. Or more. Or maybe you do it on a daily basis. I’m a bad case of someone who uses self-criticism to “motivate” myself to take action. But is this approach really motivating? I thought it was. I thought I had to be really hard on myself if I did or said something I shouldn’t have. 

 

My biggest anxiety in my life is time anxiety. If I feel like I procrastinate and waste my time not doing something productive, I fail in life. If I’m not learning and growing, I slowly start panicking and descend into misery. Sometimes this approach does work for me, but what I did realize was I spend more time being too serious and uptight, demanding and controlling (of myself and others), rather than experience joy and happiness.  

 

Recently, I read a wonderful book by Kristin Neff, “Self-Compassion. Stop beating yourself up, and leave insecurity behind.” The idea of self-compassion was totally new to me. I never thought that being soft, loving, and understanding towards myself would be productive and help me achieve my life goals. After reading the book, I felt like my whole world turned upside down. I discovered:

 

1)I don’t have to be perfect (because I simply never will be.)

2)No one is perfect, and we all struggle with many things.

3)I don’t have to beat myself up for doing something wrong or procrastinating.

4)We are all a part of imperfect humanity, and not separate from it.

5)There is always someone else who struggles with the same things you do.

6)It’s okay to accept yourself as you are.

 

What we need to focus on instead, is being aware of our imperfections, but be compassionate towards our shortcomings. We should allow ourselves to feel our feelings, but not dwell on them. If we messed up, we need to make things right with the people we hurt, and not wait for resentment to kick in, or blame others for our mess ups. We should take care of ourselves and our emotional needs without feeling selfish. 

 

I personally intend on using the 80/20 rule. If I’m good 80 percent of the time, it’s okay even if I mess up the whole other 20! Life is not about perfection. The best way to learn is through mistakes and failures. Get up, apologize, brush it off, and move on.

 

 

If one is cruel to himself, how can we expect him to be compassionate with others?

 

                                                                       Hasdai Ibn Shaprut (10th C. Jewish scholar)

Undecided

Did you always know what you would be doing for work when growing up? Did your parents ”tell” you what you would be when you grow up? Did you go along with what your friends suggested you should be doing? Or are you like me, never really knew what your calling and purpose were?

For many years I have been searching for the work I would enjoy doing, that would also let me make enough money to pay bills and have a decent life. I tried quite a few things. At one point I thought that studying to be a Mortgage Loan Originator would be a good idea. A couple of times I got into Network Marketing and tried sales. A couple of years ago, I got into Integrative Nutrition School to become a Health Coach. Then I decided to get a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I feel like I have been studying and studying, but none of that kept me interested and motivated long enough to keep going.

My dilemma was always, “Why do I always start something, but never go till the end? Why do I always get excited easily, but then quickly lose interest?” Does that sound familiar? I was always kind of envious of people who loved their jobs and always strived to grow in their careers. I certainly feel that doing what you love is of utmost importance. Why? We spend most of our days at work. We spend most of our energy at our jobs. If we don’t enjoy what we do, we are literally wasting our lives away. Don’t you agree? If we love what we do and we come home exhausted, at least we feel huge satisfaction. We feel pleasantly tired. We are content and excited to wake up the next day, go to work, and learn and grow.

For the longest time I would beat myself up for being so inconsistent and ”shallow.” I felt like I wasted all that time and money on all those courses and schooling. Recently I watched a motivational video where the speaker made a point that it is better to try different things and learn what is not really you, rather than try nothing and save all your money up, and work just any job to get by, without ever finding out what it is that excites and drives you the most. Hearing this gave me so much relief and an instant boost of confidence that none of my schooling was a waste of time or even money. One of the best points the speaker made was that during those experiences you can meet amazing people, learn various skills, and grow confidence! Does that sound like a waste of time? Not to me. I met many great personalities, travelled to interesting places, attended exciting seminars and conferences, and heard famous speakers. I definitely learned a lot and have a much broader view of the world around me.

Even though I haven’t stuck with anything I have started so far, I believe that I’m finally figuring out what I want to be doing! This time around, I’ll persevere reaching my career goals. I know there are going to be days when I will feel unmotivated and not wanting to keep going, but reminding myself WHY it’s important for me to keep on keeping on will help when I feel stuck. I’m connecting with mentors and coaches, and like-minded people who can provide support along the way.

My personal advice is to try something that you always liked doing when you were a kid, or just something that you liked doing or talk about with your friends on a regular basis, or it can be anything that grabs your interest at the moment. Read a book on the subject, take an online course, find a Facebook group, or connect with someone you know who has similar interests. You never know what’s in store for you. God is good. He knows what we need. If we ask Him for help and take necessary steps towards something that wakes up our heart, He will send the right people and put you in the right situations where you will grow and flourish! Isn’t that a life worth living?

Share your thoughts. What is it that you always wanted to do but never acted upon? Do you think you will regret not doing what you love? If you were at the end of your life and someone asked you what your regrets are, would not working your dream job be one of them? Reignite your passion and start living instead of merely existing!

Defend or Attack Back?

 

Have you ever been stuck in being defensive? Let’s say, you are having an argument, and from the very beginning, you try to defend yourself. The other person is accusing you of something, or blaming you for doing something that is not your fault. Whether you are at fault or not, you try hard to defend yourself, which makes the opponent even angrier.

 

Some people go into attack mode if someone accuses them of something. They immediately try to revert the attention from themselves and start bringing everything imaginable up that can distract you from addressing the issue at hand. All of a sudden, the argument is about you and what is ultimately wrong with you. A lot of times, “attackers” start bringing up things that happened way back in the past. They accuse you of saying or doing something that happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with the argument you are having. Sometimes they start making stuff up, accusing you of talking about them, or inquiring about them from a mutual friend, and something apparently hurt their feelings, which you might or might not have done, but you did not even remember any of it.

 

By the end of the argument, after your have tried to defend yourself from every attack that was shot at you, you both are mentally exhausted, very mad at each other, swear not to talk to each other again… But the issue at hand has not even been close to being solved! Now, there is a whole lot of other issues that you two have to figure out. Now, your feelings are hurt. Maybe you even discovered some new things about yourself, like you are too petty, or too materialistic, or you only care about yourself, and so on and so forth. A new insecurity, or several develop. You are mad at the “attacker” for being so nasty to you. You are a total victim. Then you hold a grudge for a while and run different scenarios of how you should have “defended” yourself better. It’s a mess. The relationship is probably ruined, or needs some serious repair.

 

Well, as I discovered recently, I am a definite “defender.” I absolutely hate conflict! If it’s in person, I would get all blotchy red and just want the argument to stop. It’s worse if I feel that the opponent is stronger than me. I have had two specific incidents when two people, who I thought were close to me, “attacked” me on two different occasions. Well, as soon as I responded with an attack, that’s when all the hell broke loose! It got so much worse than if I just used my usual defense strategy. At least, usually I would be able to smooth it over, but these two times the “attackers” were taken aback and attacked me back with double, if not triple power.

 

What I realized is that you have to be yourself and not try to pretend to be like the other person. Attacking the “attacker” is pointless. You will never win. It will never lead to a reasonable conversation and problem-solving. I believe that the best thing one can do is to apologize for any misunderstanding and the attack back. Also, if any of the accusations are true, admit to them and try to understand why it made them so upset in the first place. From then on, depending on who the opponent is, it’s best to stay away from him/her as much as possible, and never ever talk about them, or open up to them in the future, because sooner than later, the attack will come again!

 

Do you identify yourself with “attacker” or “defender?” Or maybe you are both or neither? How do you handle conflict? What are your best strategies to solve an issue quickly and effectively, without anyone’s feelings hurt afterwards?

CABIN IN THE MOUNTAINS

6/6/2020

FINALLY RELAXED

Being Too Uptight

One of my long-time dreams has been to own a cozy cabin, with a porch looking out to the mountains, where I could come out early in the morning with a cup of tea, breathe fresh mountain air, and write. Another part of the dream was to own an RV, travel with my family all over the country, and write.

This year my husband and I decided go for it and buy an RV! We practiced visualization and made plans. I even booked an RV spot for July 4th near Mount Rushmore. We went ahead and paid a lot of our credit card debt down and even put a deposit on a beautiful brand new RV, with bunk beds! We were so sure that we would get it, and there was no doubt in our minds that we would finally make our dream come true.

Well… the deal didn’t go through, we lost our RV spot, and all our hopes fell through the roof. My husband Chris was pretty bummed. He was really looking forward to our trip. I, on the other hand, decided to accept the situation and turn it around. Instead of traveling in an RV, I booked a 5 day stay in a cabin in the mountains! I was more excited about it than Chris, but I really wanted to fulfill at least one dream, or a part of it.

The cabin turned out just the right size, super cozy, surrounded by beautiful woods. Everything was perfect, except… I did not see any mountains from our porch, because trees were in the way. I was quite disappointed that I wouldn’t be as inspired to write than if I had mountains in front of me.

I was anxious and found every reason not to fully enjoy our stay. I have a tendency of being too uptight sometimes. After a couple of days, I finally came to the conclusion that instead of thinking of what was not perfect, I should start counting all the things that were good.

Only after I realized that there was no point in wasting our few days being anxious, I was able to relax. I even took naps and used the jacuzzi, burned candles and listened to beautiful music, as well as enjoyed listening to the afternoon rainstorm, with the porch door open, while relaxing in bed. Even though we couldn’t find a bike trail anywhere near (and that was another big want), we were able to enjoy a few nice hikes, made meat kebobs, sat around the fire, and got into a local town to try a slice of delicious New York style pizza. 

Overall, we had an amazing time, and I’m so glad I allowed myself to let it go. Even our toddler Noah and the chocolate lab Roman got an awesome first-time mountain experience (except when we thought Roman was about to jump off the cliff😱).

Gratitude is true bliss.

Stop being so uptight and allow bliss flow into your day.

God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Resentment

Just thinking about the word, makes me cringe. Have you ever been stuck in resenting someone? 

What did that person do to you? Did you get criticized, humiliated, yelled at for no reason, or accused of something you didn’t say or do? 

 

Resentment is like a poison that we continue to drink, but the other person is not getting any of it. We constantly think about how dare he/she speak to us that way, and we hope to get an apology, but, most likely, never get it. Sometimes we resent someone for being mean to our family members or friends. Right now, though, I’m talking about resenting someone who we are dealing with directly.

 

There are a few things I took away from my own resentment experience. 

 

1. Do not have arguments by text! This is the worst we can do if we have an issue or disagreement. Written words can be so misinterpreted! If said in person, many words can be brushed off and let go when being said with a smile (even if it’s sarcastic). If we fight by texting though, that smile cannot be seen, and feelings may hurt way more. Also, both we and the other person have time to think about how to respond, so the responses can be thought through and offensive. Instead, let the other person know that you want to avoid misunderstanding and try to meet in person. In addition, there is going to be a lapse of time, and both of you will have some time to cool off.

 

2. If a personal offense is an occasional thing, listen to the criticism and try to see if there is any truth to what is being said. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and see if there is something you might not have realized or noticed when you acted a certain way with them. If that person constantly criticizes you and you know that what he/she says is not true, remove yourself from a situation and that person, if possible. It’s harder when you deal with family because, eventually, you will have to see them at family gatherings. Notice if that person acts the same way towards others. If yes, accept the fact that it’s their character flaw(not yours!) shake it off and move on.

 

 3. Set your boundaries! Say NO when your limits are being pushed. Done consistently, you might even earn respect for standing your ground. As long as it’s done in a respectful way. 

 

4. Do not talk or gossip about the person. Even though you want to discuss how badly your feelings got hurt, it’s better not to involve other people in the conflict at hand. On the other hand, confiding in a good friend who can listen and support, is a good idea. Just don’t talk their ear off about the issue. You will look like an insecure person who can’t deal with their own issues. Instead, pray for them, and ask God to help the situation. After all, no one likes to have enemies.

5. Be yourself! Don’t try to withdraw kindness from the offender. Don’t remind them of your past hurts. And lastly, and most important, thank them for their opinion, apologize if there was any misunderstanding on your part, and DO NOT expect and apology back! If you keep expecting it, and it’s not given, resentment will keep eating you up. If you don’t expect an apology, but you do get it, it will just make your relationship so much stronger. 

 

One definite thing that I discovered while trying to resolve a longtime resentment myself was that if I am happy with myself, criticism of other people doesn’t really bother me. As we work on ourselves daily and know we are progressing and growing, we have less time to be offended. Unfortunately, when people see you doing well, it makes them feel unhappy about themselves, and they look for negative things in you to focus, instead of focusing on what they can do better in their lives. 

 

Keep working on yourself, and God bless you in your journey of letting go of resentment! 🙂

 Share how you managed to let go of resentment towards someone. What are your best techniques? What are usually your challenges?