Archives for posts with tag: self help

Yes I’ve emerged from the black hole once again.  Life has gotten in the way somehow–and we all know that when it rains, it pours and one misfortune can easily call up a bunch of other misfortunes in a short period of time, sweeping us away in a torrent of self-pity, regret, anger, and depression as we constantly ask ourself “Why did it have to happen to me?”  There is no satisfactory answer because the presence of the misfortune in and of itself will eclipse any philosophical or religious feel good point of view shared with us.

While it seems that the path of least resistance is to just allow the downhill slide of emotions, sometimes we are fortunate enough to be in the midst of people who will not allow us to go down that road.  They will try to pull us out of our misery with advice and attention and discussion but we may resent them for being cheerful or optimistic and think that they would not know how it feels unless they are in our situation.  It is most likely true that other people do not know or will not know how we really feel unless they themselves have gone through what we have gone through–but what are the chances that they go through the exact same thing?

Nonetheless, it doesn’t make their well wishes and good intentions any less viable.  After all, in the midst of misfortune, being able to keep our wellbeing and sanity would already seem like a huge blessing and sometimes, it is.  It’s a great starting point for being able to pick up the pieces and get past the rubbish and the rubble of whatever has occurred.  We must take our lessons for people who are doing well in life mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

It might seem to us that it’s sheer accident that some people are doing well and some people aren’t.  It might seem that it’s all the luck of the draw. However, once we have gotten sick and tired of our whining and wallowing in our own misery, and we are lucky to not have drowned in it, we might realise one thing about these people–Winners do not wallow.  They survive not by sheer chance or laziness.  If we examine their lives, they have a lot of setbacks as well–on different scales and of different qualities as our own, but one thing you won’t hear them do is bring it up over and over again.  They do not drag around the corpse of defeat and misfortune with them and that makes all the difference.

If wallowing were a sport, I might be a professional at it  However, it’s a profession that doesn’t have a good return of investment so I have to rethink this preoccupation.  Less wallowing might not ward off life’s challenges but it doesn’t help as well, it also makes our disposition sour and disagreeable and causes life to be more unpleasant. While there are a lot of things which are not going quite right, and while there are a lot of things which still want for improvement, we can make it easier for ourselves to look at people who have made it and be inspired by their example.

Undoubtedly, people who have it together have other qualities and habits which make them thrive in life, but even if we learn just one thing from them for starters is that they do not make it a habit to wallow in misery and replay the past in their heads, they are fully in the present moment with their eyes set on the future, no matter how hard or difficult the past has been, they do not let it factor into their present endeavours.  This is something worth striving for–a step in the right direction.

(c) Niconica 2015

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It probably holds true for all humans that failure is not a welcome experience, and yet it occurs with or without our permission.  The best of us are more flexible and able to view the failure as a manifestation of life’s impermanence and move on, but to some of us, who are more doggedly set on our expectations coming to fruition, failure is probably one of the hardest experiences to muster–probably at par with rejection.

Failure comes in many ways and for many reasons–it is hardest when we have to acknowledge our contribution to the experience, as much as we may want to brush it off and place the blame on others or feign that we did not have a hand in it.  One of the hardest lessons of failure is that we are forced to come face to face with ourselves and the occurrence, and if we are wise, we must have a good hard look and find a way to not repeat the mistakes which lead to it.

If we try to digest the entirety of the failure, we will end up choking and probably suffering a serious depression or a mental breakdown.  As with many overwhelming experiences, it might be better to digest it a day at a time or an element at a time.  Where there are some factors which we may not come to terms with or justify, then we have to allow time to heal the wound so to speak.

We might not be as resilient as other people and it might take us a longer time to wallow and get over the experience.  One of the more important things to remember is that we must learn to forgive ourselves and let go.  This is, of course, easier said than done as we might keep ruminating about the past and wondering how and why, even with the best of intentions, we went wrong.  We might be completely baffled as to why the experience has turned out to be an experiment gone awry even with our best efforts and intentions.

Hindsight is 20/20 and if we are honest with ourselves, we would recognise that we are as fallible as the next person and we most likely have overlooked some little things along the way which eventually add up–a lot of small bad or mistaken decisions do add up to a monumental disaster and we were most likely either too preoccupied, too sure of ourselves, too closed minded, or too stubborn to have realised it.  Failure is a very humbling experience if we choose to learn from the lessons it brings us.

Repeating the sequence of events in our heads or wishing that we had known all along is one of the surest ways to not be able to move forward.  Failure requires us to have the resiliency and flexibility to acknowledge the facts and be able to move away from the past and stay in the present one day at a time until we move further into the future and have the courage to trust ourselves once again.

(c) Niconica 2015

When we reach our thirties and forties, many of our friends and acquaintances have most likely gotten married and already have kids or are having kids.  Being single among our peers might make us stand out like a sore thumb and make us wonder whether there might be something wrong with ourselves–and similarly others might have the same thoughts about us.  After all, if we were probably more emotionally skilful or otherwise appealing, shouldn’t someone have snagged us by now?

It might also make us emotionally inept.  Lacking experiences, we might be wont to believe the anecdotes of our married pals who do not have a successful marriage and therefore have the time to still hang out with us and ‘kiss and tell’ so to speak.  The successfully married ones are less wont to tell interesting stories or spend time elaborating about the virtues of being single or go on about the woes of being ‘too loved’ by their wives that they feel that they are emotionally tethered and unable to be free.

We must beware of drinking water from a polluted well even when it’s the only one available.  At the risk of stating the obvious, these unhappily married people are the polluted wells I speak of, they are widely available and have the time to share their emotional toxins and negative thoughts and woes with anyone who would care to listen, and we might think that their tales are cautionary and informative of what might be to come for ourselves.

We must not seek advise or tips on having a healthy relationship or marriage from people who have failed miserably at it, despite their protests that they had nothing to do with the pitiable state of their relationship and claim to be the hapless victims in the situation.  As a friend, perhaps we might lend an ear to them if they need to share their story but we must discern that their predicaments need not create a map of fear in our heads about what relationships might be like–and make us cling to being single and causing us our chances at having a happy and healthy relationship.

When we drink (or take advise) from ‘polluted wells’ (negative people) we are setting ourselves up to fail by being contaminated by their thoughts, behaviours, and misconceptions.  We have probably lived in this world long enough to know that each experience requires our participation and it is very rare to find a relationship failing at the hands of merely only person.  We may wish to provide more wholesome point of views to our unfortunate friends and help them improve their relationships instead of enabling their negative thought patterns, or even worse, adopting their tainted view on relationships.

Do not seek advice about health from a sick person.  Do not seek guidelines on a successful relationship from someone who has failed/failing/ailing relationships.  It is simply this simple.  If we forget this fact, we will doom ourselves to follow in their footsteps and we will have no one but ourselves to blame for allowing it.

(c) Niconica 2013

 

It has been said that idle minds are the devil’s playground and it certainly applies in the realm of romance when we are suffering the pangs of unrequited love.  If we are mature enough to not stalk or prostrate before the object of one’s affections and beg for their love or attention, then we must know that keep ourselves occupied with something other than thoughts of the person whom we believe has ‘broken our hearts’ is the best way to deal with this.  It does not pay to go down the road of wishful thinking nor speculation as to why we have found ourselves in such a predicament.

The facts are clear when the person is not inclined to reciprocate our feelings–we need not delve into their inner thoughts not intentions because no good can come of it.  We must also avoid thinking that there is something that we can actually do to win their affections because once it becomes very clear to us that it is a lost cause–it often is a lost cause.  It can be hoped that we have lived in the world sufficiently long enough to harbour a realistic worldview which includes knowing that there are many things–in fact, most things–out of our control, and this just happens to be one of them.

As much as we would want things to turn out a certain way because we are convinced that they are our soul mates or that they are perfect for us, we must swallow the painful truth that they cannot be perfect for us because no one is perfect as well as the fact that they cannot be our soul mate if we don’t even warrant a strong or intense romantic response from their part.  True, soul mates can come in the form of friends, but that’s another topic altogether.  Back to the topic of dealing with unrequited love, we must strive to channel our frustration elsewhere and it would be good if we use the energy towards something which benefits the world in general such as volunteering for worthy causes, or raising funds for a non-profit organisation, or even, simply by donating time, money, or goods to charity.

There are many things which are out of our control.  We cannot make someone who doesn’t love us, love us… But instead of becoming a whirling dervish of gloom, we can instead choose to give happiness to others who need them even more instead of sulking and pining to the detriment of our own physical and mental health–as well as those who are around us who have to put up with our black moods.  Ideally, we must learn to accept the situation and let go of it but it might be too much to ask so perhaps keeping busy would be a better immediate antidote which might lead to eventually being able to let go.

(c) Niconica 2013

What do we do with the broken pieces of our relationships? Is there any chance of assembling them back together into something coherent or workable? I’ve recently had the excruciating experience of trying to work through issues with someone and it ended up pretty much the way it started–proverbially still shattered and in a thousand pieces, if not even worse.

I have a few guesses as to why the issues were not resolved–and it is not because they couldn’t be resolved, but it was because our own personal issues were in the way and we were not on the same page. On the surface, we both agreed that perhaps it was time to have “the talk” and try to work through or discuss what had been troubling us, but when it came down to it, one of us didn’t mean it and/or wasn’t ready to be honest about the issues or be on the same page.

When this happens, instead of kneeling down on the ground and helping each other pick up the pieces, we end up cutting ourselves when we are not careful or using one of the loose shards as either a destructive weapon or as an object for self-defense.  There were too many factors which contributed to the failure of the crucial and very difficult conversation–among which are pride, ego, dishonesty, a lack of trust and openness.

Whatever went wrong, the broken pieces still lie there without being swept up or tidied… and it is very painful to not be able to reach an agreement with someone about how to fix a relationship when someone is not ready to be upfront about crucial issues or even the premise of the discussion.  If the basis of the discussion is denied, then anything that ensues after that becomes moot.

So, here I am with the broken pieces and unsure of how to proceed. It can be said that we should recognize a lost cause when we see one, but on the other hand, it can also be said that perhaps with a little bit more discussion and determination, an agreement can be reached… Who knows, but perhaps when there is an impasse, it’s best to pause and regroup and see it how it goes before reentering the “discussion” as it were; lest it feel more like a battlefield.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

When any relationship is built, it is important–and necessary–that it be built on solid ground. This entails being clear on what the relationship is and where it is heading and being able to communicate it to the other person unambiguously.

If one or the other party is not on the same page as to what the relationship is and where it is heading, then it cannot be considered that the relationship is on solid ground… and yet many a relationship has been built on such precarious premises.

So let’s back up a bit and examine whether it is worth proceeding with the pseudo-relationship and ask ourselves whether we really deserve to be in such a position.  It is imperative that before any lasting foundation is built–metaphorically or otherwise–that we check for solid ground, without which it might be wise to seek another more conducive site to build our lives and dreams on.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

In a relationship, sometimes it’s not so much the actual presence or absence of the person or the frequency of interaction as much as the feeling of safety where it is understood that one won’t be rejected or abandoned.

The fear of rejection or abandonment can be so primal and embedded that to admit it would make one unbearably vulnerable that despite its relevance to the dialogue, it would be the last thing ever to be discusses or revealed.

This factor then makes the situation more complex in that the other person involved is not aware of the crucial element to be considered and would in effect be feeling rather confused about the dynamic of the situation.

When a person in the relationship is acting out, before anything else, it needs to be established that the relationship is a safe place where issues can be brought up and discussed and the concerns would be treated seriously without the other party leaving or rejecting the other.

Usually a safe zone is established by making a commitment to the other and while ultimately there are no guarantees, the context of the commitment creates a safety net for both people to interact… More so than if there was no agreed upon commitment or relationship.

So in undefined or “it’s complicated” pseudo-relationships, things tend to get messy precisely because of the lack of the safety net which a mutually committed relationship provides.

This then entails that one or both partners must constantly watch out for themselves because any moment could be the last moment in the relationship.

And as time passes and the situation gets more serious and/or convoluted, the hidden vulnerabilities surface and cause more tension without being able to be addressed properly without entwining serious risks in the pseudo-relationship.

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

Basically what we are talking about now are tattered and leftover hearts from previous emotional casualties. Everyone around me seems to be either in relationships or are still not over previous relationships.

It doesn’t matter whether the relationship ended a few months ago or a few years ago, but there are a lot of seemingly available people who are really not available due to their unresolved issues.

So the question is, do we really want other people’s emotional leftovers and/or sloppy seconds?  It’s not a matter of unrealistic expectations of finding someone brand new and undamaged–because what are the chances of that.

It’s more on being able to find someone who has already worked through their issues already, who is viable for an actual commitment and relationship, and/or who is not carrying any form of emotional baggage all over the place.

It’s not so easy to find someone who is in such a position in their lives, but it is possible.  It’s just that it is infinitely better to be dealing with someone who is primed for commitment and a relationship rather than having to  sort through the debris of previous wreckage wrought by someone else.

It might feel that sewing up a tattered teddy (or person, in this case) would seem like an interesting hobby or pastime but beyond the good intentions, find an actual teddy or another hobby, for trying to save or patch up a person is often more trouble than it is worth.  It would furthermore turn out to be a constant cycle of saving and repairing the other person–and often at the expense of our own well-being.

Think twice about indulging in rebound relationships or jumping into a situation with someone who is clearly not ready for whatever reason, because moving forward without thinking too much about the factors and the consequence might eventually cause you your emotional sanity.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

Why is it that communication with some people feels like a constant tug of war?  It’s almost like needing subtitles constantly to get one’s point across and even then, a lot of things get lost in translation.

As much as I’d like to say that communication techniques can be learned and improved upon, there is only as much we can do when the fundamental thought process which create the underlying push and pull are in odds with each other.

These mechanics are unfortunately only revealed through the passage of time and when one harbors the hope of furthering a connection or a relationship, it is disappointing when these mechanics surface.

On one end, more sentimental people might argue that it would be good to try to work on the communication problems and see how it can be improved, but on the other hand, more practical people would say that something that doesn’t work and would take more than necessary effort and time to upkeep is not worth it.

I think that the first argument is feasible when one is in a permanent and legally binding commitment or when there are children involved and/or lives at stake.

However, for the happily single and uncommitted person, the second and more practical option might be the best way to go.

Why bother to go through all the hard yards, the emotional roller coaster rides, and the unwelcome rip tides when one can just cut one’s losses and just let go?  Why needlessly complicate life which does not need one’s help in making it more tangled?

Do you really want to spend your whole life–or at least a significant portion of it translating, explaining, or defending one’s thoughts, words, emotions, or intentions?

Of course, all communications start out good because people are not being themselves yet at the beginning and it takes time for the true dynamics of the relationship to emerge… and when it has, one must seriously consider whether it’s worth the trouble or whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth–and make a choice.  In, or out?

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to the image/s

Healthy Boundaries

It has often been said that “Good fences make for good neighbors.” I believe that this is very true and applicable to human relationships and emotions. It is when the boundaries are blurred that we start thinking that people are either our possessions or extensions of ourselves that every starts to go a bit awry.  To have good friendships and relationships, it is imperative that we know when we stop and where the other begins.

When we over-reach beyond our boundary and start to exercise dominion over others and their lives and wishes, we are paying them a huge disrespect by proverbially kicking them off the driver’s seat of their own life and self-righteously taking the steering wheel.  Shouldn’t we already have our hands full with maneuvering our own life without needing to add more to our already heaping plate of concerns and issues.

The moment that we forget that “the other person” is an individual who has a right to exercise their own sound or faulty judgement over their own life, it is a slippery slope which eventually becomes a mad dance of attempting to exert our own power and control over the other and bending them to submit to our will–and then we wonder why they are evading us, silent, or keeping secrets from us. Once we forgot this basic decency and respect of the other as their own person, it is a step further from our own humanity since disrespecting another’s distinct humanity is not exactly commendable.

For people who are on the other side of the fence and find themselves on the receiving end of such control, passive-aggressive manipulations, and unsolicited advice, it would be time to learn to exercise your own judgement and reinforce your own boundaries by erecting a healthy fence between oneself and the would-be dominator. This does not mean becoming rebellious or aggressive, but merely not letting the person get their way and their judgements in without putting one’s own judgement and well-being into primary consideration.

In saying all this, it would be easy to mistakenly conclude that I am promoting a indifference towards the plight of others and I must say at this point that this is the last thing which I am encouraging in anyone. I believe that we can offer our help and suggestions when asked, but we must learn to step back and respect the person’s choices and not get frustrated or punish them for not doing as we have told them to or not acting as we would like them to act.

If another has said their piece and thrust their unsolicited opinions towards your direction… Step back, regroup, and exercise your own sound judgement without being bullied into a certain course of action.

If you’ve said your piece, and shared your solicited point of view… Step back, let go, and let be.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s