Strengthening Character

At the end of the day, it’s only you. Alone. How you met each challenge and each conflict was up to you. Did you face your demons or pretend they didn’t exist?

There’s a lot of talk about being real. Authenticity. For me, it’s not always easy to be myself. It’s not that I try to fake people out by pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not an impressive person and never wish to be.

My nature is to relate to people on the level they are. You might think me inauthentic at times because I’m a human who has been damaged by life. My cracks show.

When I feel I’m in an emotionally dangerous situation I’ll plaster a fake smile on and spout out the trite phrases, whatever it takes to get me through the situation. This is the game we call life.

Our character is built by the choices we make. We develop strength or kindness or wisdom through practice. Such as continuing to practice grace and mercy if you’re wishing to become a more forgiving person. Truthfully, it comes down to living intentionally, as best you can.

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Blind Fish Red Seas

In the Odyssey, Homer describes the ocean as “wine-dark” and other strange hues, but he never uses the word ‘blue’. Science Alert

There’s actually evidence that, until modern times, humans didn’t see the colour blue at all. In a fascinating feature over at Business Insider, Kevin Loria breaks down the evidence behind the claim.

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Blue?

Wine?

Does it matter?

Whatever we ignore will fade away. If your opinions are not listened to, or those around you act as if your ideas don’t matter, you learn to be quiet. Keep your thoughts to yourself. No one cares anyway.

At times trying to fit in becomes so numbing that a person forgets even to have a desire or an individual thought. We wear whatever is available because our senses are dead.

The limestone caverns of Mexico’s Sierra del Abra Tanchipa rainforest contain deep cisterns cloaked in utter blackness. This is where researchers at the University of Cincinnati traveled to find a little fish (Astyanax mexicanus) that has evolved to feast or endure famine entombed hundreds of feet below the ground.

“They have been able to invade this really extreme environment. They are exposed to darkness their entire life yet they’re able to survive and thrive,” said Amanda Powers, a UC graduate student and lead author of a study on blind cavefish published in May in the journal PLOS One.

“They’ve evolved changes to their metabolism and skull structure. They’ve enhanced their sensory systems. And they can survive in an environment where not many animals could,” she said. Phys.org

To the other extreme, many have overdeveloped patterns of behavior to protect themselves the same as the blind fish. I’m hyper-alert to what I’m wearing, thinking, saying or doing because I never want to offend anyone. My spidey senses are always on alert.

When children are yelled at or ridiculed, they learn to avoid exposing themselves. They learn to walk away from confrontation and challenges. Life becomes full of danger instead of the hope it could have held.

Stepping out of the dark into the light takes time. It is possible though. I’ve been rewriting my thinking to know what is safe, but it takes time. And practice.

Nothing happens without putting in the work. Panic, Anxiety, Rage, Depression, and Codependency, these are just a few of the symptoms that show your nervous system is overreacting. It’s not to blame and neither are you any more than if you had a cough.

Understand why you are anxious. And decide if you’re ready to get help. The same if you went into a rage. This is not solitary work.

Our environment made us blind, and we need help to heal.

And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron. – Odyssey

Choices

We come into this world thinking only of our own needs. Eat. Sleep. Play. Mine. Need. Grasping. We grow, we learn, we become. And depending on our experiences we develop into an adult with the ability to give, to nurture others. Self-preservation is healthy. It’s the way of nature. But being stuck in either an ego trip or self mutilation is unhealthy.

Choose your path

Your life today is the result of your accumlated experiences. As children, we couldn’t see that our parents had bad days or were drunk when they were screaming. We only knew the screaming, so we hid. The pounding of our heart and the fear in our belly told us we caused this, so we vowed to never do it again. If only we knew what we had done then we could be a perfect person. I remember thinking crazy thoughts like that. As if there was some magic checklist to complete to become a better person. And if I became that person my parents would no longer yell at me. But none of it was our fault! We are never responsible for another’s actions. Not our parents and not our bosses. There’s a better way to live.

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I’m an adult now, and I have choices. I can keep reliving those old stories, or I can be here today. To be present is going to take some work. We have to remind ourselves where we are. Every time my mind gets lost in a clusterfuck of bad memories I have to shake myself out of them. I have to sing that song I love. “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance.” If you can’t do it by yourself, grab a partner. Two together are hard to defeat. Friends, buddies, and partners help to keep each other healthy.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Bible Hub

Love the one you’re with

Live now not worrying about tomorrow. Keep your life simple. Create small attainable goals and take steps toward them each day. The truth is that our brain is not structured to handle much more than this one moment. We overload it when we expect it to handle worrying about Timmy’s nightmares while calling the bank about a bounced check. Choose a practical approach. What can be fixed? And get stuff out of the way that can’t be fixed.

You can do this. We can do this. Share love with each other. Nothing else matters.

Check out my other posts – Dancing to the Rhythm  When the Quiet Ones Roar  Respect Yourself

 

My Right to Say No

I have been harassed since November 25, 2017. It’s unnerving. This happened before when I was in high school. A boy I dated when I was 16 decided we were destined to be together forever wasn’t letting me go, so he followed me. Everywhere. He showed up at my school, my church, and in the town where I lived. At the time I was still with my parents, surrounded by more protection. It didn’t seem unsettling. Today, I see everything with merciless eyes.

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None of this had to happen. I wasn’t in a relationship. So here’s the thing, if I decide I want to stop seeing someone I say so. And I did. No stringing it out, no rude remarks, and no yelling or breaking of objects. Mature adults. Oh, was I wrong. One-sided maturity. I was slapped in the face with a string of drunken texts claiming there were audio sex tapes. (Illegal alert) Days later I was threatened to be exposed for the vile woman I was and told I gave the man HIV. (He had flu-like symptoms.) During this time, he also had contacted a friend of mine and made verbal sexual advances toward her. (Illegal.)

The court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to the women and certified him as a sex offender. — Forbes

After doing some research I’m surprised by how common this is. Recording audio or video without consent is illegal. Nonconsensual Taping of Sex Partners Is a Crime.

As Stephanie’s Law and other unlawful surveillance statutes make clear, invasions of sexual privacy constitutes a crime. – Forbes

Harassment is a crime, as is slander and defamation of character.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition. Harassment is governed by state laws, which vary by state, but is generally defined as a course of conduct which annoys, threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc. https://definitions.uslegal.com/h/harassment/

If someone is threatening you, tell a friend, phone the police, get a lawyer involved. Don’t let anyone bully you. It’s alright to say no, and you should be free to walk away. There’s no voice without the ability to refuse, and the Almighty “NO!” Courage grows its roots in the choosing.

 

Want to read more? Check out Limitations, Boundaries, and those cute Picket Fences or Hope

Respect Yourself

I am angry

I want to be seen and heard. Noticed. Jump up and down, throw a tantrum like a small child in the grocery store. I want others to act as if I matter. As if I am an appointment that can’t be missed. A craving. An addiction. But sometimes people aren’t capable.

It’s not always in their DNA to respond in the way I want. I’m not saying it’s alright for others to abuse me, I’m stating a fact. My expectations are misplaced, and I need to change. My truth, I’m asking someone else for validation. To respect me. Tell me I’m important. Tell me these things.

  • I matter
  • I’m important
  • I’m valuable
  • I’m impressive
  • I’m irreplaceable
  • I’m undeniable
  • My needs are pressing
  • I am a priority

I don’t want to be second or to not even be chosen at all. I’ve been there. It hurts. The stabbing pain of feeling abandoned is gut-wrenching, especially when it’s from your loved ones. But I can’t be a child throwing a temper tantrum. It’s selfish. Nor do I want the bitter anger building inside of me anymore.

I am the love child of the universe.

I am loved. I’m important. Esteemed. Undeniable. I am heard. Valuable. I rate here. This is my territory. The universe hears my voice and respects me. Blessed. I am home in this world. But, I cannot wait for someone, anyone else to tell me. It’s my life and my responsibility.

Woman’s Inhumanity to Women by Phyllis Chesler

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Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

6. Learn to Ask for what you want; Learn to Move On If You Don’t Get What You Want.
A woman must be encouraged to put what she wants into words, to ask for it directly rather than waiting for someone to guess what it is she wants. If a woman cannot get what she wants, she does not have to blame herself, give up, disconnect, or become enraged. She must learn that she can get what she wants another day or at another job or with another person. Women must be encouraged to move on as well as to stay the course. – The Girl God 

P.S.

Don’t forget to support each other. We all need to hear that we are loved and valuable. It’s life-changing. It will rock your loved one’s world. Better yet, show them. Make someone a priority.

Today, you are loved.

You might want to read Expectations vs Reality or Pajamas are For Wearing All Day Long or Am I Expecting Too Much?

Dancing To the Rhythm

 

Not Again.

It was one of those moments, and I was doing it again. I was in a trance. This time I wasn’t perusing Amazon’s many book suggestions like I talked about in Mindless Searching, I was in my own negative thoughts. Lost.

I caught myself.

Mucking around in my old stories wasn’t helpful. It was the old “somebody done me wrong song.” I don’t live there anymore. Why does this happen? It’s familiar, yes. And it was an old pattern.

But I’ve created a new life and a different story. I’m at a beautiful place. I don’t need that story to prop up my self-esteem.

It went like this.

I had been KNOCKED DOWN. Taken advantage of. POOR ME. But I’m STRONG, and I climbed out of the grime. Look at me now. See how MIGHTY I am. Yeah, can any of you recognize this story? It’s not that it’s a bad one. It’s familiar. Very Western. American. We glory in the knocked down, climb your way out and up to the top hero story. It just isn’t working for me anymore.

Shackles off.

I want a new story. Forget hardships and pain. I want to dance and live and thrive. Why not enjoy this life. So the next time I find myself singing that old tune, I’ll replace it with a new one.

 

I want to dance!!

Check these posts out –>The Flip Side-To Thrive,  Mindless Searching,  and  Vacation Poster Promises

My People

We all have fears. Deep inside all of us is an ache to belong. It’s as old as our tribal root system. Rejection, being cast from the tribe, even that glance letting you know you don’t belong here.

Spinning

If you feel lost, find an activity or place, something to anchor yourself to the present. My anchor was the sunrise and sunset. I paused daily for this. It was my sanity.

You can make your own tribe. Find people who support you who understand who you are as a person. Also, these are people you enjoy being around. This is your life. Create it.

Keep Going

Try not to get lost in the pain of the past. Move forward and make a new life. Yes, we need to heal. Just be careful to not get stuck in the quicksand of self-pity. Lick your wounds and be done. Your future is grander than the past.

Namaste.

Are you the choices you make?

6b467915e5e5c78240284ff5c302e4dbWhy does the lady with lung cancer and a horrible cough still refuse to give up her smokes? What is the missing ingredient in all of us? We know it’s not just will power.

We make choices every day. I can wear the gray pants or the black, take a sandwich to work or eat my lunch out. Sometimes our choices seem less trivial, do we go to a state college or local, start a family or grab the golden ring on the career ladder?

Most things we do are minor. The apple we ate isn’t going to change our life on the grand scale. Not one by itself. It’s the patterns of living that creates a mosaic.

If only we could see the picture we were creating as we step out into each footstep. Is that possible? I mentioned Values in last weeks post, How to be Strong. I wanted to revisit values and add a little more information today.

Are these some of your values? Honesty, Loyalty, Love, Kindness, Individuality, Tenacity, Forgiveness, Intelligence, Nature, Education, Nationalism, Multiculturalism.

It’s not possible to see any life as a whole to know how it will end, but we do know certain actions tend toward certain directions. Rob a bank and usually you get caught. Smoke enough cigarettes and lungs develop carcinoma. Read books with a fresh vocabulary, and you’ll increase your word usage. These are mere projections, not certainties, but they’ve happened enough times in the past that the odds are pretty darn good.

The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off often because they’re 95% deadwood

  • Joe Rogan Experience #958 – Jordan Peterson [2]

Our life is not all one choice. We’ve created patterns that are comfortable. I like my car, my house, and my bed. It’s home. Familiarity is like the puff of a warm cigarette. Mine isn’t nicotine, but we all have a crutch. I’m afraid to jump, to grab the golden ring when I’ve been handed it. What if I fail? I’d be leaving my couch. That’s my weakness. #Hardchoices

I believe we need to know who we are before we can walk the truth we’ve learned. Below I created a link to a resource I found. Each module has a fee and takes some thought to complete. I’m starting with Virtues. Tell me what you think.

Self Authoring

If you want something easier or free, there’s the Keirsey Personality Test. Whatever your direction, take some time to know yourself. There will be choices. #Hardchoices #learning

Check out these older posts: Living My Words and Not My Grandma’s Soap Opera

The Key To Measuring Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst grade jarred me from my innocence. That’s when I learned society had expectations. It required me to measure up. I knew about the measuring tape and the door post. I knew my mom was five feet two inches tall and she was tall enough to reach the top of the refrigerator. This was big. Elementary School opened my grey-blue eyes another concept.

What did you get for Christmas? Where did you go for Summer vacation? These were the questions my teacher asked when we were in school. The fun camping trip or the week you spent with grandma became part of competition. Level up.

In second grade one child shouted she went to Disneyworld for summer vacation. My summer paled in my eyes even though it had been filled with staying up late with best friends and playing hide and seek with my cousins. I wasn’t enough. As you can see, my belief in scarcity started young.

Know your currency

My family owned two thriving businesses in our small town of 3000 or so people. None of that mattered to a first grader when it’s story time, though. I reached for a quick currency. The going rate of exchange for school kids was a story. It was how we were proving our worth at that moment. If I’d only seen a bear while camping, gosh darn it!

Fitting in isn’t quite as easy as picking a pair of shoes. You don’t point to a style and say yeah, I’ll take that in size 8. There are methods. But it’s not so simple when you’re six or even twelve. Maybe not when you’re 20.  If you’re the queen, you know where to sit. You wear the crown, and people bow to you. There are rules. Royalty. You do what you do because – well, hell, you are you.

Collinsville thrived on its small town charm. Parades filled Main Street on cold holiday mornings with marching bands and paper flowers covered cars with trailing streamers. Friday nights meant a competitive football game or a movie in the theater. We had our regular early morning coffee drinkers at the restaurant. And those who liked to stay late at the bar down the street.

Tweet: So, I learned a new trick. I learned to tell my story.

I might not have been tall like my brothers, but I could reach the cereal box on top of the refrigerator by dragging and standing on a nearby chair. It was this new type of measure that was difficult. So, I learned a new trick. I learned to tell my story. But now I know it’s much more than telling a good tale. It’s listening without worrying if your present was better than mine.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” John Rohn

Book suggestions:

Never Eat Alone

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Trance of Scarcity

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Can You Neuro Lingo?

There are two different emotions I have when I feel I am losing my power. One is anger, the other is fear. How I choose to act is up to me. I can lash out at everyone else or I can learn to get a better grip of my life.

Neurolinguistics – Retraining

What is Neurolinguistics? I think Salim Ismail may have said it best when he explained,

You have your body which is your hardware, and then you have the external world, right? At an early age you develop the software operating system to interact between the hardware and the external world. And that operating system is formed in the first seven years… So that early education inputs did you get bullied. How did you respond? How do you navigate playground dynamics?….. You kind of form this operating system. Then we become adults and we run out of applications on this operating system. Career, love life, money, sports, money and the applications start crashing. And we blame the appliication. We never go back to rewrite the operating system. And so, in the newer world we live in today, infinitely more complex, global information based, we need to rewrite our operating system.  – The Unmistakeable Creative with Salim Ismail

Some of us never update that software. It’s like never retraining for a new job. For most of us, our training at best wasn’t any official practice. We grew up. Got by. Most of our lives looked like Jed Clampett who moved to Beverly Hills. And we feel that way too. Out of place and out of sorts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Skillsets

Is there a skill you seem to be missing? Money management. Parenting. Organization. Boundaries. Relationships. Or it’s possible you don’t know what’s wrong. Find a mentor or a helper. There are many motivating and helpful life coaches and teachers now.  I know, these things cost money. Yes, they do. So does stress. Worry makes you sick. If you want to live longer and live healthier, find a way. Invest in an hour or more of their time. An emergency room visit will cost you much more.

Do It

3935_8bj3i_Backcountry_Gate_at_Jackson_Hole_Mountain_Resort_mdBuy a book, audio or paperback. Take a class in money management. If you’re having difficulty with your teenager, don’t think you have to do the parenting thing on your own. Learn. You wouldn’t go skiing down a double black diamond mountain path without either some experience or a lot of stupidity, would you? Certainly not blindfolded. Life is not any different. There are also other avenues that are available. Some have tried hypnosis. There are many therapies, besides talk. I went to a yoga therapist who did work with the body and mind relationship.

Extra Extra

Getting things done in a chaotic environment is sometimes difficult for me. Noise distractions. Here is a site that offers help Focus @ will. Purely used for mental focusing for a task at hand. Not a retraining program, but a temporary helper. They have a trial offer.

It’s not the leaps, sometimes we need the gentle nudges. We need to learn and relearn.

WHAT SILICON VALLEY ENTREPRENEURS DO AT NIGHT

Here are some books I like:

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