In writing, a particular saying is passed around, “Don’t read the comments.”
It refers to the remarks written by people who have read your work usually online. Comments can range from feedback that fills you up to input expressly designed to tear you down (it would seem.) And so the phrase was born to shun the comments in favor of preserving your sanity and the shreds of your self-esteem both about yourself and your creative strength.
But lately it seems the trolls are everywhere. Not just on media sites.
They are in your social media feed masquerading as your friends. They email you, assuming you asked for their opinion. And HOLY GOD, they are stacked 12 high in politics.
Maybe we should use that statement to blanket other areas of our lives where we don’t want insight (thinly veiled as critique or otherwise.) As a friend of mine reminded me today, “Sometimes it’s better to smile than to shout,” and we do have options other than engaging with the icky sticky trolls hellbent on stealing your soul and motivation. And as I am fond of spouting, “Doing nothing is a choice, too.”
It really is.
Not sure how to respond in a tête-à-tête? Do nothing while you noodle it over. Not getting your point across or are being shouted down in the middle of relationship sparring? Disengage and check your tongue. Tired of drama cropping up like an enthusiastic spring weed? Tamp it down and zip your lip.
Sit and allow yourself to be in the moment. And as I wrote about on my FB page a couple of weeks ago, realize when you are in the midst of conflict or unsavory energy that robs more than it builds, you are safe. Conflict will never kill you. Even if your heart races, or your stomach sinks, the likelihood of you dying from distress is pretty nil.
Try to take your emotions out of responding, out of determining how you feel about something. If you do decide to read the “trolls’ comments” compartmentalize them.
This negative suck emanating from their words is not for you anyway. It is not about you. It has nothing to do with you.
We think what people have to say targets us because of ego. We have to look out for signs that might affect us when outside forces help to make up inside resilience. In other words, when you don’t believe you are all that. When we seek validation, even in the form of negativity, it reminds us that we are still important for another person to consider, even poisonously. But we don’t really need that level of engagement. We need self love and to know, no matter what anyone else has to say about us, unless it is delivered in a helpful fashion, it is not for us. Your ego should be pliant enough to resist contradictory thinking levied on your true intentions.
Snarky posts are about the poster.
When you are the recipient of such a trash mouth, go ahead and refuse to interact with them. As another popular saying goes, “How other people think about you is none of your business.”
Taking yourself out of the line of fire is difficult. It is easy to react, to get angry, to feel affronted. But this is our ego. How dare anyone feel this way about me? Well, why shouldn’t they? Are you untouchable? A deity? You, too, have feet of clay. So recognize where the response comes from and be still with it for a minute. Realize that people are going to disagree with you and even insult you throughout your life. Control your emotions when and if you respond, and when you err on the side of reacting conservatively you will be surprised at how the trash talker takes itself out.
The peace that follows is lovely and leads to unshakeable self-awareness and pride. Exactly where you want to be.
The transformation in your life is also nothing short of magical. When you hold onto your boundaries in every capacity, people quickly learn you will not tolerate anything less. You will not be verbally brutalized. You will not be taken down a notch for someone who hasn’t received your permission to steal your energy. You are the guardian of YOU. As long as you set out in the world to be the best person you can, accept how awesome you are. Because you are. And the trolls?
They will never take that away from you.
Stand firm. Ignore the haters and the players and everyone else who is searching and scrambling for their own self-worth (hence, the bullseye on your head) and you will come striding out of the fire without a singe mark in sight.
One last thing, as a good person…stand in your truth. It will always be revealed anyway, and when you own you and everything you represent, say and do, you will never have a worry in the world. But don’t you dare take on the responsibility of another. That’s not your lane.
Be present with that thought for a moment.
Original Article from: “The Good Men Project”
Every morning, shortly after waking up, I scroll through my newsfeed and read about what my peeps are up to…just the same as you.
There is laughing, absorption of sad news, and the usual suspects: cat and dog vids, smiling selfies, Live virgins sloughing off their fears to stand resplendent and virtually naked.
But my newsfeed is also a little different.
Within three hours’ time, I might read about a life coach’s innovative approach to growth, celebrate the expansion of soul through a series of memes offered by an A-Player entrepreneur. I will devour hundreds of more memes telling me I am capable, to seize the opportunities in front of me, and after I am done reading these I feel like a superhero.
The interaction is even better. If I am trying out an experiment and need suggestions, high producers comments flood in. These are people who have been where I am trying to go. The interaction is invaluable.
Positivity and self-belief is cultivated numerous times per day and when you are inundated with such energy, you can only go on and apply it to yourself, and then spread it around. You will locate within you, the ability to boost people up and cheer them on to their goals.
It wasn’t always this way. Before I opened the door to people who make it their business to rewrite success, I endured the college friend trashing their relatives, the “poor me” people who labeled themselves as unlucky. The snarky comebacks from peeps who thrive on drama.
Without question, this exposure to the brighter side of life, to the refusal to engage in the negative shapes my attitude every single day.
When you are surrounded by people who are mentally unstoppable, who every minute are trying to be better than they were yesterday, more receptive, more curious, more tenacious in their pursuit of living life, you can’t help but to adapt that thought process as well.
I don’t complain anymore, don’t engage in needless drama, refuse to be gaslit, verbally abused; I will not feed any nasty mechanics.
If you can’t bring yourself to unfriend the people on your page, there is a reason for the unfollow button. Be responsible for the information you take in. This is another method of self-care, when you defend your right to encourage more peace.
Some real-life examples taken from this past week:
- A friend wanting an answer about the most influential thing you’ve ever learned.
- Team collaboration to generate leads for a group.
- A year of leveling-up update with a handful of new glossy selfies from a friend.
- The invitation to add a mental health ambassador badge to your profile.
- Social media experimentation and all-in-fun challenges in the name of discovering insight every participant can leverage.
- A request to tag favorite mom inventors.
- The value in knowing your purpose.
- The importance of building up family on social media.
- “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
- One man returning to his mission better informed and sharing lessons after scaling his team.
- The passionate outpouring of love from a yoga business owner.
- “On the road to success there are no shortcuts.” ~ Unknown
- The encouragement to enjoy the moment and eschew the “what if.”
- Rooting peeps on to step into the spotlight.
- The support to expose your heart, both its vulnerable parts and the powerful.
Take a minute and assess your feed. What do you notice? Are there people you have wanted less interaction with? What has been holding you back? You are the only person who can set the boundaries you need.
Ask yourself if you are like the flow of a river, going along with whatever the consensus is. If you are this way, and there is nothing wrong with that, this is an exercise to simply identify a tendency, then you need to be careful that you tacitly do not endorse your ingestion of this kind of content.
No one else is going to customize what you consume. It’s all up to you. What would you like to see and read each day?
Ignoring toxic content as you read it has limitations because you still take in these conflicting and negative messages.
If you want to feel like a superhero, start unfriending and unfollowing and then take note of the changes that happen within you as well as the lightening of your attitude.
Don’t forget to post about the differences that improve your outlook.
Original Article from: “The Good Men Project”
Let’s just put it out there already. Triggers are scary.
We are taught to run from pain and not toward it. The mere word “trigger” is ahem…triggering.
A couple of weeks ago, I was paging through Spacebook, thanks, Mat Bodhi Bryan, and I came across a meme my friend, the aforementioned Mat, had shared:
“Let the triggers be your guide.”
It was a bolt into my heart and head. I have both gravitated toward triggers and run shrieking from them. Haunted, as we all are, by their very signature meaning for us. Afraid that what we come closer to, will be true. I will learn I am disposable. I will learn I am not unique or memorable. I will learn my footprint on this earth means nothing, that everyone who has ever wronged me was right. I will learn I am worthy of abuse. And on it goes, the inanity filling up your core, whispering vicious secrets about you that aren’t true.
Instead, what happens when we venture forward, when we poke that stick into the hole where the bees live, is that we start to understand how wrong our misperceptions are. We begin to unfurl the hurt part of ourselves, the limb we have curled into our chests, that we favor tenderly. Blood starts to flow to that part of the body, yes, altered forever, but in some ways stronger.
Triggers are obstacles we can desensitize ourselves to on the way to growth.
Over and over again, we can talk about them, share the benefit of acceptance in our hearts as the agony of experience loses strength. It flows out of us, diluted and as it does we find our power.
We can live in harmony with our pasts, aware of what it was, without overwhelming pain. We can talk about it without crying, and recite specific stories almost as if they belong to someone else. We can recognize that path to pain is as strong as we make it. We can even turn it into a twig that snaps when we put our boot on it.
Mat tells me this is a common quote used when people are healing, that triggers can equal pain and contention until they are addressed. When we do this, when we confront and sit with the agony of our triggers we can reach pinnacles in recovery, we can turn our exposure to them from pain management to pain awareness and then into a true healing journey.
The great news about triggers? They can launch you into new awakenings if you let them.
And when you propel yourself smack into that phase, miraculous things happen.
We make different choices that have nothing to do with our past and pain.
We stop identifying ourselves as evolving out of anguish and victimization.
We become who we are supposed to be.
We are not:
- Incapable of working for ourselves in our passions
- Black sheeps of our families
- A source of shame
- Hopeless in our relationships
- A waste of time
- High maintenance
- Doomed to repeat history
- A head case
- A drama king or queen
We are our every potential. We are limitless and fascinating. We are brave enough to confront the lies that have made up the suffering in our lives. We are in control of how much we stand in misery.
Triggers are the keys we have been seeking to unlock every door that has ever slammed shut in our faces. When you wince at reading the word, you know you are there. Acknowledge the first thought that rises from it and dig your heels in as the pain sweeps through you. What is it telling you?
First the falsehoods. They’ll wash over you like acid. Then the cleansing, the reliving of the pain. Feel the hurt. Try not to judge yourself for feeling it. Own your part if you have any. Forgive yourself if you need to.
Let it go…
- The lies about living a worthy life. You are.
- The lies about success. You will be when you believe you will be.
- The lies about your capabilities and intelligence. You can become anything.
- The lies about your not deserving love because of someone else’s treatment. You deserve all the love in the world despite your past abuse or neglect.
- The lies about attaining a financial, stress-free life. You are not pre-programmed to fail.
Every block concerning every topic that affects us can be traced back to triggers, back to the fear of re-experiencing the darkest memories and so we run. We run from opportunity because to confront it and engage, with the potential of not meeting our aims would validate our lies. It’s too big a risk. But we go there…again and again. We seek the pain, our eyes wide, hearts hammering, our bodies unable to resist the pull. We want to understand the cause, to assign a reason for it. To learn what we did to deserve it so we can validate it and make it normal. But it will never be resolved. Not fully. And deliberate pain received from another makes them abnormal, not you!
Greater resolution comes from release. Mourn your attachment to pain. You will feel it as you stride into the new you. It’s a scary, irreplaceable sensation. You will be okay.
Greater resolution comes from acceptance that sometimes it had nothing to do with you. That sometimes, people are bastards who think they can exploit your emotions and heart…until they can’t anymore. Because you stop them. Because you put their every action and word back on THEM.
One meme stopped me. I gave myself over to it 13 days ago, so curious and having been in the trenches with my deep pain for decades, I was able to surrender. I was in practice of walking toward it with my arms outstretched. One meme, a few minutes to reach out to my friend and have a discussion about triggers, to learn what he is doing in his life to serve others so their memories won’t turn into a personalized torture chamber anymore.
Mat Bodhi Bryan is a healer who leads from his heart source, “helping men reconnect with the divine/sacred masculine energy, healing them through creating brotherhood and setting them on the path to stepping out of society’s paths, and forward into the Loving masculine energy that is needed right now.”
His life’s work is understanding pain and moving past management into rehabilitation. Pain, that is a river flowing into each nook and cranny of scar tissue we clench onto in our bodies. Let’s make peace with that pain and move into prosperity in our relationships, our parenting, our businesses, our finances, our confidence.
The next time you encounter a trigger, try to resist your visceral response.
Take a moment to understand your own feelings as if you were a hiker who happened to stumble across a rock with sharp edges. Regard it as much as you can without the attachment to your personal history…let it simply live in your space as you breath through its close proximity. Then purposefully push it from your mind as powerless, let your healing begin as your path to emotional wealth appears, as your path to everything you have ever hoped for finds you.
After decades of pain, I am living this. I am not a counselor, not a speaker. I am none of those things. I am just trying to live an unobtrusive existence as we all are. This is what worked for me. My own healing and my own heart-centered resurgence of my goodness is why I share it with you.
You CAN heal. You can remove triggers, habits and untruths about yourself to find a new path that has been simply overgrown by the pain of your past.
I hope you do. I am rooting for you.
Article Originally from: “The Good Men Project”
Dear Abusive Relationship, I don’t talk about my past a lot anymore, at least not in my present relationship, or with people who know about you.
Since I’ve finally moved on from your constraining presence, there’s no reason to.
But, I share it with people in my writing because it helps them. Some people are stuck and feel they have no way out. Some mothers and fathers can’t afford to move and so, they stay with people who hurt them. They stay with partners who just can’t control one word that comes out of their mouths. Who appear to be powerless when it comes to chaining fury.
I didn’t think I had a type, but they say it takes nine months until you will witness every emotion your SO will have. So, even though all might be rosy at months 6-7, you might be in store for more. If you even detect you could be harmed, no matter how deeply you are falling down the rabbit hole of infatuation, it is time to GET OUT.
My type would lurk in hiding before leaping out and making themselves known.
Dear Abusive Relationship, I learned I was not important enough to stop hurting. That my feelings paled in comparison to the need my partner had to express themselves in hurtful ways. THAT was it. No matter what, their anger, their every feeling had to find release.
Somehow, the abused find the strength to get out. But many don’t. I think of the articles advertising the couples who have stayed together, the pictures of elderly women with black eyes, silent for decades. I think of the woman who lived with an abuser who took a picture of herself every day. One day, she had a smooth clean face, the next a constellation of bruises and a fat lip, and then she would heal, and I would forget the physical proof of battering, but never the look in her eyes.
I wonder what happened to her when she returned home with that man. I think I know.
Survivors do get out and when we do it is an intricate game of Cloak and Dagger. We hide and scheme and sneak and refuse to go “home.” But if we are not careful, we will return to that same home with the same partner who just happens to possess a different face…because we tend to choose people who have the same temperaments, who suffer from their own emotional crippling. We are addicted to bad treatment that we believe is a fair response to our inequalities. We actually feel sorry for the people who have to put up with us.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence notes “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equates to more than 10 million women and men.”
Statistics on rape are shocking: “Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.”
Abusive relationship, you are everywhere. It is a certainty that we know someone living in your grasp.
Maybe you have wondered what happens when you finally and permanently leave? The pull is challenging to return, but survivors must stay out.
Survivors, I can tell you even when you have physically bested the odds, you will remain in an emotionally-spiked, anxiety-riddled prison for a long time. This is okay. This is the new beast to wrestle and it is normal. You will even miss the old familiarity of the battle you have memorized so well and it will make you feel guilty and like you deserved your past treatment. The advent of a healthy dynamic is terrifying and seems as fleeting as a ragged scarf in a tumbling wind.
When your eyes begin to open you will examine the dynamic that exists in every relationship for patterns. Do you accept judgment as if you have earned it (no such thing); do you fall into the role of being overly accommodating while fighting the truth that you are hiding your true self because you will never have approval? Do you justify cruel behavior because you are the one “who is a handful,” “who is the troublemaker”? You will learn the roles you have played throughout your life and they will all be similar. You will have been gaslit, deceived and blamed.
When you work on truly loving yourself, knowledge illuminates.
My abusive relationships incited irrational rage in me because I’d had the point I was worth nothing repeatedly hammered home. They made me a people pleaser, a “yes girl,” who agreed with everything to reduce wrinkles in the fabric. They ignited a fierce and over-the-top response to everyday arguments, where I felt the need to scream out my importance from strained vocal chords. Shouting to convince myself and my partner to give a shit about me even as they promised they did through their healthy words and actions. I conjured tests for my poor husband to follow and set him up to fail so I could argue my worth. I ignored his gestures of love because it was uncomfortable, foreign, and I was numb. My eating disorder was a raging monster, literally consuming me. And I wanted to believe so badly in all the good sentiments I would hear about myself, but I couldn’t. I didn’t think I was smart until I was 32 and had enrolled in college. That was the extent of my assigned self-value.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you cost me not just the physical ability to feel safe, but you instilled in me that I was one of the unlucky ones. That some people were born lucky and were afforded love and I wasn’t one of them. That I was the biggest loser in this way because that was the way life was…unfair. You taught me you can sleep in the same bed with someone without really sleeping, your body coiled and ready to escape, and that minor daily infractions were major and merited punishment. On no subject was I ever to feel safe, at least not for too long, and when I learned how many people bore this weight, I was disheartened because that was the grooming of society. It was acceptable because it was so rampant.
In the same vein, I realized my life meant something because of you.
I live on the opposite pole now and I have the intimate knowledge of what not backing down brings. I know that if you are in an abusive relationship, you are not as alone as you think and that when you flee, you need to pour every molecule of your being into recovering.
Be ready to dedicate years of your life to this endeavor.
I had a yearning to confirm I fucking mattered. It drove me to push, to keep accepting there could be a different way and a different reality. I wanted happiness in a marriage so much, and I kept doing the work, even when I fell down a thousand times…I knew my life was a product of me and not the control I’d had taken from me, the action I didn’t know how to defend. My need to believe in a better life outshone the creeping cancer of rampant and repeated abuse.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you are behind me, but now when I think of you…I think of my resplendent power in the face of naked fear. That I am a survivor, that you could be conquered and that feeling abandoned as I sorted out the darkest memories and terror wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Believing I was merely a barren vessel for punishment was.
To you, survivor, write your own letter and get in touch with what you have recouped and what you have reigned victorious over, redeeming your self-worth.
To you, who are still in danger, who are being hurt every day, you know that feeling when you sit down, exhausted and out of breath when you consider your friend you have wanted to confide in? When you sense in your gut what the next step should be, and it is plotting leaving or hiding? There’s a reason you’re feeling that. Be careful, but act on it.
Prepare to receive the love from people (you may not even know) who care, those who don’t have a clue.
I urge you to stop hiding in shame.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you are a liar. Because everyone deserves more and better and best, and all the love in the world for one reason alone. They are human.
Original Article From: ‘The Good Men Project’
“Do you have trouble catching your breath when you walk up the stairs?”
“Yes,” I replied, looking at the floor.
“Are you still getting your periods regularly?”
“Unfortunately,” I laughed.
“I’m surprised,” the doctor said. “There’s just a small percentage of women who do when they are so underweight.”
“I want you to go to the lab and they will give you a bottle. Every time you have to pee, you will go in it.” She pushed her glasses up on her nose, her eyes glittering. “Clear a shelf in the refrigerator and instruct your kids not to drink it.”
I took the piece of paper and left the room, unable to absorb my doctor’s words. I couldn’t have an eating disorder because I thought I was too skinny! I don’t have body dysmorphia and so I just have a high metabolism. But I would do what she said. I was thin, had heavy periods and most women complimented me on my looks. Pretty much I was a hot mess…before there was such a thing.
When I came out on the other side of that experiment and after I had learned there were indeed muscle gasses in my urine, the truth sank in.
I was sick. But this still wasn’t my bottom.
Bottom was 93 pounds and the threat of in-patient admittance if I couldn’t get myself to the half a dozen appointments a week.
“We will be making sure you attend,” the check-in lady said with an edge to her voice.
I swallowed back my tears, a painful lump in my throat that had been with me for about three weeks and shambled out to the parking lot. Then I set about healing. Finally.
My journey was long, decades of self-inflicted suffering I couldn’t understand and stop.
Rules I made up that seemed sane to me. Not to eat at night in case I might get sick. Never to eat anything that had been recalled. Never to eat anything that had a high percentage of being tainted. To toss leftovers. Never trust smells or expiration dates.
I had a disease they didn’t know how to treat; it has a name now, but my psychiatrist had no idea what to call it when he was seeing me: ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.)
The Eating Recovery Center (ERC) is celebrating Eating Recovery Day, today, May 2nd, using this day as one to increase awareness of the signs of eating disorders, and the hashtag #DontMissIt. According to their press release, the signs are:
- Sudden, dramatic weight loss or constant weight fluctuation
- Constantly feeling cold – even in warm weather
- Negative self-talk, especially about one’s body
- Changes in mood and desire to interact with others socially
- Compulsive or excessive exercising
- Frequently engaging in conversation about food
- Avoiding certain foods that were once loved
- Unusual behaviors at meal times – practicing food rituals or avoiding meals altogether
- Using the bathroom right after a meal, or other signs of physical signs purging (swollen cheeks, marks/scars on knuckles – a.k.a. “Russell’s sign”)
- Evidence of hoarding food, empty food wrappers or containers, or the disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time
Eating Recovery Day was started last year and the response to people sharing their stories of “hope and recovery” letting others know they can “enjoy their life again” has been overwhelming.
Dr. Rebecca Wagner, Clinical Director of Eating Recovery Center, Houston, shared with me that “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.” Most deaths occur through suicide and the secondary fatal implication is due to medical consequences. “ Eating disorders affect every organ in the body. We are not sure how it will affect any one person. Even people who have had an eating disorder for less than 10 years are still at risk.”
I want to add in an additional little-known sign that Dr. Wagner shared and that hit home for me.
She states, “[These patients are] experientially avoidant—they have much greater reactivity to conflict management.” One of the goals of treatment is to help people learn to manage everyday life crises, and that includes avoidant behavior, such as would apply to how an ED patient would react to confrontation. The avoidance of confrontation spills over into avoiding food. So, if you notice the above signs in a friend or loved one, and this person also has a difficult time controlling their emotions, or whose reactions seem irrational as it relates to “regular” emotional transactions, please take the steps to get them help.
Since the identification of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, the ED spectrum has widened to include other types of EDs.
ARFID, as aforementioned is now a recognized eating disorder and the popularity of clean eating has enabled Orthoexia Nervosa, which Dr. Wagner identifies as another form of dieting, saying, “You cut out different things and keep going. It’s a dangerous cycle, but the result is the same. Severe malnourishment.”
What made a difference for me and I can pinpoint as the exact moment that recovery began was when I confessed my rules that I’d slapped a shameful label on.
“I make rules about eating,” I said, picking at an imaginary thread on the couch in the psychiatrist’s office, my empty stomach churning.
“Like what?” he asked, his gentle gaze holding mine.
“I don’t trust food and I don’t feel safe and so I try to control what I eat.”
“Go on,” he urged, nearly in a whisper.
My eyes filled with the tears of confession. I let them fall.
Original Article from: ‘The Huffington Post’