Happiness

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I write a lot about looking for the negative aspects of mental health. Today I was reminded about happiness.

Happiness seems elusive but if we can balance our view, happiness is there and directly parallel to negativity.

For example, my car engine exploded, I got a newer and better car.

My sunglasses fell apart, so I borrowed my daughters so I could drive.

A family member died and I was reminded about how loved and supported I am.

I got an infection in my tooth and got antibiotics, I cared for myself and took back my health.

These simple occurrences can be the ones that are the most annoying and have us lose sight of the good parts.

Take a moment to reflect how an annoying situation turned out right.

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Grounding And Unsettled Thinking

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To ground oneself in an effort to gain healthy mental health is very necessary. It’s not easy because we get caught up stuck in our heads, thinking too much.

Grounding helps us to calm down our minds so we can get clarity. Grounding facilitates that emotional release we need to heal ourselves.

We can’t heal ourselves from unsettled thinking through a cerebral process. It doesn’t work that way. Our unexpressed emotions and unexpressed truths will consume us until they are looked at and this is where grounding comes in.

Here are a few examples of grounding that worked for me:

  1. focusing on the breath gradually working up to about 2 minutes.
  2. paying attention to what you are thinking and write it down.
  3. coming back to the present moment, what are you doing at that moment.
  4. meditation, quiet time, reflection.
  5. do artwork, draw, paint, doodle, sew, knit, woodwork any kind of crafts.
  6. write, even if it is a word, or sentence, write what you hear, write from the heart.
  7. listen to music, any music that you like.
  8. take a walk, breath in deep, look at nature, go to the ocean.
  9. take a different action, redirect your actions.
  10. exercise, any exercise is better than none.

Grounding is an important part of getting in touch with your body where a lot of negativity, hidden memories, and confusion  is stored.

Our mind needs grounding for clarity and our bodies need grounding to get rid of stored negativity, hidden memories and confusion that it holds.

By practicing grounding on a regular basis, even once a week reaps great benefit and help change your thinking by changing your emotional life for the better.

 

Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries Don’t Leave Home Without Them

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Boundaries are powerful.

We all have experienced someone whether in our personal lives or work life who just does not know the meaning of personal space and minding their own business. Wasting your precious time and resources. We have to learn skills for handling such situations.

  1. know when to say yes, know when to say no and mean it. No point in being wishy-washy.
  2. know that boundaries keep you mentally and emotionally safe.
  3. know that boundaries are a big part of your well-being.
  4. physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual, material and time are all subject to boundaries.

There are soft boundaries, rigid boundaries, boundaries somewhere in the middle that are very flexible. We all have a mix of these types of boundaries. A soft boundary may be for a child, a rigid boundary may be for your job, the middle flexible boundary may be for your family. No matter who we interact with boundaries will look different.

You may think setting boundaries is selfish, it is not selfish, boundaries are an important part of healthy mental health and happy well-being. If someone gets upset with you setting a boundary, it’s their problem, not yours, stick to the boundaries that keep you safe.

We must abide by others boundaries too. Boundaries are a two-way street. Boundaries cause us to feel more in control of our lives and that is very important in feeling a whole lot less fearful.

If you are not used to making boundaries then take it slow, a change like this does not happen immediately.

You are worth the effort, keep trying, and figure out a way to set healthy boundaries.

 

Narcissism

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There’s so much information about narcissism out there. You can google narcissism and the information is overwhelming.

I can tell you from personal experience that the longer you keep a narcissistic person in your life the worse your life will get. Don’t be the bigger person because the narcissist really doesn’t care. They enjoy hurting and damaging other humans and even animals. It doesn’t matter how the narcissist became that way and besides it is not your responsibility to figure it out. The responsibility is on them.  Most of the time the narcissist never changes because they do not have any awareness of their own destructive behavior and not any interest in self-awareness.

Here are some red flags that are attributable to being a narcissist:

  1. they take advantage of others
  2. feels superior to just about everyone
  3. needs constant praise and if you don’t they will try to destroy you
  4. your needs don’t matter
  5. envious
  6. arrogant
  7. cares only about themselves
  8. very destructive to you and not caring at all

These are just a few red flags, but if this kind of behavior is consistent there’s a good chance you are dealing with a narcissist. Feel free to research the subject for more information.

My advice to you, and I can tell you from experience, that it is best you leave to protect yourself. It is not likely they will change. It’s best you go on to have a better life.

You’ve Got To Feel It To Heal It

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That’s right, there is nothing worse than hiding from your feelings because until you feel them they will come out in unhealthy ways.

Depression is sadness turned inward. Are you avoiding happiness because you have unresolved sadness?

Then feel it to heal it.

Got some rage going on and you took out in a road rage incident?

Then feel it to heal it.

Shame running the show in your life?

Then feel it to heal it.

Feeling scared, lonely, disgusted, left out, jealous, embarrassed, disappointed, frustrated, shy, uncomfortable or guilty?

Then feel it to heal it.

There is no way around it, we must resolve, process and look at what we feel, even it’s really uncomfortable.

You will come out on the other side feeling joy,hopeful, friendly, brave, silly, grateful, loved, kind, secure, curious,proud, and confident.

After all, who wants to be stuck in misery.

Happy exploring your feelings.

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday #214 – Abandonment Continued

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Susan Anderson’s book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing is a wealth of information about the devastating effects of abandonment and that real miraculous recovery that is possible.

I am paraphrasing the five stages of abandonment.

  1. Shattering-devastating pain and hitting bottom.
  2. Withdrawal-the intense craving for the love you had.
  3. Internalizing-beating up on your self esteem.
  4. Rage-fighting back by expressing your rage and anger.
  5. Lifting-your life gets back on track.

These are not linear steps but as the author states they are stages that are circular, like a cyclone. We go through each stage at one time or together. It may take days, weeks, months or years to resolve but worth the effort.

Abandonment is one of the worst betrayals a person can experience. Recovery is more than possible, with some self care and self compassion you will come out on the other side changed, wiser and more resilient.

Read Susan Anderson’s book and be amazed at how recover from abandonment is possible.

You Can’t Change People by Blogger Jenna Ryan of Self Love U

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So True.

You Can’t Change People

When you realize that you can’t change other people, and you accept that they are who they are and it’s not your job, or your place to change them, you can learn to let go of people who are not giving you what you need; or requiring you to do all the work; or are causing you to be less-than. You can let go of these people and begin to embrace new relationships that are more healthy. New relationships where you are valued, validated and respected.

It’s a great indicator of your path. When you’re able to determine what is good for you and what is not, your path lights up and you get out of old negative patterns of relating onto new nourishing experiences. You are no longer stuck. You build new neural pathways in your mind towards your own betterment. It’s a beautiful process of learning to love yourself by saying no to the bad stuff and yes to the good stuff.

This will feel uncomfortable at first. It will feel “off” because maybe you’ve been habituated to following patterns of self loathing and self harm. But if you trust your path, and persevere towards the good, then you will say goodbye to that old identity (in a loving way) and hello to the new, true identity which was yours all along.

You may be afraid to walk away from your old way of relating because you may be afraid of the unknown–also, your brain may be trained to go towards your current comfort zone. You have to retrain your brain. You have to learn to listen to your intuition which will tell you when you feel mistreated, and even if that mistreatment feels most comfortable, you listen to your truth. You take a leap of faith–trusting yourself.

You can also learn to love others who are close to you for who they are… especially those you must deal with in life, like parents. When you know what’s right and wrong for you, you can set boundaries externally and emotional limits internally in a way that lets you stay safe and meet them where they are. You only do this with close family–new relationships need to adhere to your new levels–or remain acquaintances. The key is you stay neutral, not clinging to or pushing away negative people.

There are so many mental and emotional processes that can get in the way of this healing, but it’s worth it to learn about everything. It’s worth the effort to pull yourself out of the pit and to heal. You deserve a happy life.

Here’s the Reason People Grow Up Idealizing Their Childhood and Parents

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An unexamined life is a gray life. You miss the explosions of insight and groundedness of maturity. Here is a wonderful article by Darius Cikanavicius of the Facebook page: Self Archaeology. He explains the realities of the survival skills children need to survive in precarious situations.

Why People Grow Up Idealizing Their Parents and Upbringing

“With nothing and no one to judge them against, we assume them to be perfect parents. As our world broadens beyond our crib, we develop a need to maintain this image of perfection as a defense against the great unknowns we increasingly encounter. As long as we believe our parents are perfect, we feel protected.”
— Susan Forward, Toxic Parents
Babies and small children are new to the world and their brains and minds are still developing. The biggest influence on a child’s development is their primary caregivers and their immediate environment. That’s where we get our understanding of concepts like love, care, empathy, trust, healthiness, goodness, worth, value, and so on.

Inherently, children believe and trust their caregivers. A child’s parents, other family members, teachers, and similar authority figures shape the child’s beliefs about the world and about themselves. This is how a child learns about self-worth and self-esteem, and about estimating others.The problem is that children have no objective ability to evaluate what they are taught.

As I write in my book Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults, “Children do not have a healthy frame of reference regarding their family environment and their treatment by their caregivers. Children have only experienced what they have experienced and have nothing to compare it to.” And so the smaller the children, the more likely they are to accept the teachings of their caregivers without questioning. This includes explicit teaching and implicit or non-verbal messages. Since children see their parents as all-knowing, all-powerful, and infallible, they also tend to blame themselves for how they are treated. Often they actually are blamed – and actively or passively punished – for disagreeing, being disobedient, or “acting badly.”

The truth behind this is children need their caregivers to survive. The child will die without their caregiver. Therefore, children are extremely sensitive to rejection and have no other choice but to ultimately be as their primary caregivers want them to be. So idealizing them is vital for their survival.

This dependency on a caregiver for survival follows people long into their adulthood. It manifests in different irrational beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. People grow up with a lot of accumulated pain and chronic psychological trauma. For the most part, even as adults most people remain psychologically dependent on their primary caregivers, unable to feel free and happy.

The beliefs people developed and internalized growing up haunt them throughout their lives. Most people idealize their parents even as adults because they have never truly examined their childhood and their early relationships and resolved the root issues, or at least not to the degree where they would feel safe and secure enough to let go of all their illusions and fantasies about an ever-loving parent.

It is extremely difficult to accept that perhaps how you were treated as a child was not normal even when you are a self-sufficient adult; it is impossible to accept when you’re a child. It is so hard because, for most people, it is unbearable to even contemplate risking their bond with their caregiver, no matter how toxic or downright abusive that dynamic may be.

Healing from all of it and growing is a long and complicated process. It often involves feeling emotional pain and discomfort. But it is necessary in order to finally set yourself free and live a happy and authentic life.


For more on these and other topics, check out the author’s books: Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults and Self-Work Starter Kit.

Darius Cikanavicius

Darius is the founder of Self-Archeology. He is a writer, educator, mental health advocate, and traveler. Darius has worked professionally with people from all over the world as a psychological consultant and a certified life coach. His main areas of expertise and interest are inner work, childhood trauma, social anxiety, self-esteem, self-care, perfectionism, emotional well-being, narcissism, belief systems, and relationships.

Darius is an author of two books: Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults and Self-Work Starter Kit.

For more information about Darius and his work, please visit selfarcheology.com. If you consider Darius for online consulting/coaching, you can find his contact information here or email him.

 

It Makes Sense We Sabotage Ourselves and Why It’s OK.

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Self sabotage comes in many forms.

We can become hyper aware because we have been dealing with unreliable people for a long time and we expect things to go wrong.

We can get in the habit of not making commitments because those we trusted thwarted all that we loved.

We may want to be unseen because any attention means possible abuse.

We may people please to keep us safe at the expense of our own needs.

We may want to control everything just to feel safe enough to exist.

There are many more ways to self sabotage but the reason why we do that is because there are unresolved issues just under the surface of our awareness and our self sabotage keeps us distracted enough not to feel those feelings.

Self sabotage is a coping method and that is OK until you are in a place to look at those feelings and release them.

It’s not easy but with some kindness and compassion for yourself you will gradually let go of self sabotaging behavior.

Betrayal

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One of the worst experiences one can have is to be betrayed. What is betrayal? It’s disloyalty, stabbed in the back, unfaithful, double crossed, tricked, given false information, or no information, misled, abandoned, let down, and deserted. You get the idea.

It’s that crushing feeling of shock, disbelief, anger, shame, and you want retribution and fight hard against denial of the betrayal because it hurts so much.

This is no easy feeling to deal with, it may take some time to process what is going on. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Have some detachment.
  2. Talk it out with a trusted friend.
  3. Feel the emptiness and grieve.
  4. Don’t act out irrationally.
  5. Make a recovery plan.
  6. Be really good to yourself.

The key to healing betrayal is to be self-aware and really good to yourself. Know that it is only a matter of time before you feel better.