Photo cred: LisaBPhoto
We all become conscious, at some point in our lives, of ways we can sabotage our physical well-beings. When it comes to sabotaging our emotional well-beings, and even our financial security and stability, things seem to become more complicated.
Brilliant individuals are sometimes incapable of motivating themselves enough to change their lives or gravitate toward the ideal. They tend to become problem-oriented rather than solution oriented, boxing themselves in with an almost unwillingness to compromise. They may set impossible goals instead of practical ones.
Maybe someone convinced them they didn’t deserve success, or they convinced themselves based on how someone made them feel about their competency or their judgment. Either way, these old tapes keep playing in their heads, telling them they can’t accomplish anything, can’t succeed, can’t win, and there’s not enough to go around. In this predicament, we fear success as much as we fear failure, because they are two sides of the same coin. We keep that coin as a reminder that we don’t trust ourselves with the dreams we cherish or the plans we’ve made.
We tell ourselves we don’t deserve success any more than we deserve money. Perhaps once we get our hands on the latter, we don’t manage it well. I’ve been there. I can attest to the fact that when you finally realize you do deserve these things, you’ll likely find yourself working your tail off, accomplishing one goal after another. We have to be rid of whatever that little voice is in our head that says we can’t do it, and we’re not good enough, and that all this is impossible. We can, we are, and it’s not.
We get into this pattern of self-pitying victimhood. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that we’ve been a victim of something or someone, or expressing anger about it, and shedding tears. We have a right to our grieving process. But sometimes we get use to the payoff—attention, pity, praise, the temporary ego fix. So instead of becoming solution oriented, we become more and more problem oriented, more and more likely to want an audience of sympathizers. And we get stuck there because solving problems would take that attention away and whatever else we get from being constantly burdened. It’s not that we don’t deserve to be comforted. It’s that we don’t move forward. We don’t get better.
This pattern normally goes hand in hand with excessive worry about people and things. Social media is a perfect example, because it mirrors life. I have seen people in a pattern of deactivating accounts only to resurface in a matter of days. Sometimes it may be that they legitimately need a break, but very often it’s because expectations are not being met. People are not responding to them in a way they could perceive as favorable. They’ve made assumptions about what people think or what someone meant, and after a considerable amount of time wasted on obsessive worrying, they take a drastic action to disengage. When they come back, it’s because they need to try it all again. They have too much riding on acceptance. It’s all self-defeating because we create unrealistic expectations, and we tend to assume wrong. Comparing and assuming tends to cause more mental anguish than is warranted or bearable. All we can do is be who we are, our ever-improving version of that.
Many stress about their looks, their bodies. Perfect is boring, and there is beauty beyond someone else’s chosen ideal. Beauty does, indeed, come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and people will have all sorts of opinions on what looks good. In fact, I realized at one point, that I never cared if someone didn’t like the hair color I chose. I knew how I wanted to look. I would never consult anyone about it, not even my significant other. So if we are trying to satisfy ourselves rather than appeal to every single person on the planet, we should set the standards for ourselves not appease clothing designers, the model industry, or the men who rate women on AskMen.com. Because when we’re finally okay with how we look, imperfections and all, we exude the confidence we need to get oh just about anything. And if that’s not enough, we get to focus more on being the best human we can be. When we finally love who we are, we learn to respect ourselves and treat ourselves better.
While it’s normal to want attention and approval, it’s the excessive, almost desperate need for it that can destroy us if we let it. People take unnecessary risks for the fix without realizing. They may trust the wrong people, throw caution to the wind, make excuses for bad behavior, cling to people who have repeatedly demonstrated the harm they’re capable of inflicting upon others. We don’t even realize that the payoff is attention we craved, validation we needed, admiration we couldn’t resist. Because it comes at just the right time, and creates such a bondage that we continue to crave it from a dangerous source.
Sometimes it’s less extreme. We try to be generous with people regarding our time, our attention, our praise, but we do this with relationships we don’t honestly want to nurture because we want to be nice. I find that when people want to be nice or perceived as nice, they immediately have expectations and create obligations. Then, on top of the resentment about doing something they don’t want to do, and the expectations or obligation that likely won’t be met, they go from ‘nice’ person to fire-breathing dragon in a matter of seconds. So what happens next is far from what they initially intended. People get hurt.
Well, it’s okay not to want to be friends with everyone. It’s okay to feel emotionally exhausted and want to have only genuine relationships. It’s okay to walk away when you’re not feeling it, not trusting it. It’s okay to save that overflowing generosity of spirit for those who matter to you. You can still do nice things for others along the way if you want. Quite simply, it doesn’t have to be like wearing a thorny crown while carrying a cross over your back.
I’ll say this. The more I become aware of how people think (thanks to social media), I tend not to want to meet any more people or reconnect with people from the past. I’m happy to avoid everyone outside my window… even while loving to hear them all out there—the comforting humdrum. Isolating can be a peaceful, healing thing, but it can also be another way of self-sabotaging if we don’t check it. I’ll admit, I have to push myself to get out there and deal with the world as it is, on its terms. Whether I like it or not, it’s necessary. I’ve had to accept that I’m not always going to be comfortable, and I’m not always going to be safe.
I still believe, though, we have to take our time getting to know people, especially when we are very empathetic. Because while we can recognize serious issues people have, our compassion for what they’re dealing with can override any need to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we have to because these people can hurt you and will do so again and again. We need to pay attention. We need to be careful. We have to stop tolerating disrespect under the guise of being noble and humble. That only creates a perception of some superior self that is false. Yeah, we want to be the nice guy, but if we are real with others, we become something better than ‘nice’. We are kind.
I’ve come to believe that one of the best things we can do in life is heal the vulnerabilities that make us susceptible to all this self-sabotage. Once we find the courage to seek answers, then acknowledge, accept, feel, cry and release anger, we heal, we learn, and then we grow and evolve. It’s an ongoing thing that just keeps getting better. We deserve that.
Of course, life would be so much easier if we could make a habit of staying in the moment and being fully present in that moment. We wouldn’t be worrying about what happened yesterday or an hour ago, or what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have to remind myself constantly, but it works particularly well in moments of crisis and panic. A wise friend taught me to stay in the solution. Think about what you can do at that moment, not what you can’t do. Control what you can. Amazing how that helps.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The robin in your tender heart
Hungers for the red berry
That titillates your tongue.
She carols as the snow falls—
And not with the chorus of the dawn
In radiant spring.
What might have been?
Your voice silenced,
The spirit of you
I see glimpses of your fire
From the light that has vanished
From your eyes.
Your wings soar,
Only not to follow
And your heart is that of
You inspire me
To change my perspective
With your unique vision
Of the world.
You shine with your brilliance,
And you don’t know.
Your bursts of laughter
Make me smile.
As always, you are the light
In my darkness;
Your spirit is the fire I feel
In the sun’s warmth.
You were the dawn of my awakening,
And the splendor of my dreams.
And I have cried
For your heart
More than I have ever cried
For my own.
I am torn apart by
The intensity of your pain.
It is profound sadness
When I think I’ve reached you
And then hit another wall…
I fear losing you forever
To your grief,
As I grieve, too,
For the subtleties
You don’t understand.
Avoiding the eyes of others …
Your intense frustration
In trying to get it right,
And thinking you have it all wrong.
You have it right,
I only wish you could know
Of being free.
The tentative smiles,
The looks of uncertainty,
Prompt me to tell you,
You got this.
You’ll be fine.
Whatever the passion,
Let it burn.
It will save you.
Retrieve every shattered fragment
Of your soul.
Bless it with your peace.
Give it mighty and glorious wings,
And let it fly where it leads
Into the twilight of an infinite sky.
And don’t stop singing
Your life’s song.
The song is your vision,
It belongs to you.
You wither and die.
Don’t you, for one moment,
Let anyone crush your beautiful spirit.
Know, too, those who have crushed you
Have been crushed.
Those who pain you have been pained.
Still, you can rise again,
Become completely alive again
And shine on,
Just as you did before all the hurt began.
You are not defective,
My dear one,
Not a burden,
Nor do you struggle alone.
I’m here with you.
I will always be with you.
In every way
Though you don’t see that,
And you never have.
I just love you.
Feature photo by Amy Treasure
© Copyright October 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Stigma Fighters’ CEO and founder, Sarah Fader. Here is the podcast from that interview.
Via Stigma Fighters November 29, 2014 Press Release:
Stigma Fighters is an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health issues in high schools and colleges around the United States.
Stigma Fighters began as a blog series where people shared 1000 word essays about living with a variety of mental illnesses. The organization was founded by Psychology Today and Huffington Post Blogger, Sarah Fader. The basis of the program focuses on the invaluable benefits of sharing one’s story. Now, Stigma Fighters is coming off the Internet and into high schools and colleges. Stigma Fighters chapters are being established throughout the United States, beginning with the New York metropolitan area.
Choosing to bring Stigma Fighters to a school will allow students a place to safely discuss mental health issues. The organization seeks to empower student’s voices and allow them the opportunity to share their stories with confidence and without fear of being judged.
Contributors to Stigma Fighters include Keith Law, ESPN journalist, Rachel Thompson, best-selling author and HuffPost Books Blogger, Michael Coleman, Once Upon a Time actor as well as people from around the world including Australia, The United Kingdom, and Canada.
For further information or to bring Stigma Fighters to your educational community for speaking events and student involvement contact Sarah Fader, founder. Email: email@example.com
Learn more about Stigma Fighters and Sarah Fader.
Stigma Fighters Fund Raising
Stigma Fighters on Twitter
Stigma Fighters on Facebook
Stigma Fighters Teen (Facebook)
Stigma Fighters UK (Facebook)
Stigma Fighters Down Under (Facebook)
Sarah Fader’s Blog
Thank you, Sarah. It was an honor and a delight to have you on my show.
Follow Heart-to-Heart With Kyrian for notification of upcoming episodes.
© Copyright February 16, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.
Like many, I am crushed by Robin Williams’ tragic death and saddened by the emotional toll life takes on even the brightest lights in our world. Another gentle soul and kindred spirit is gone. We remember the world can be cruel.
We don’t have to be suicidal to understand this kind of suffering. I know the excruciating heartbreak of not being able to reach someone who is depressed or addicted, thinking you finally made progress, then you hit another wall – hard. I understand the fear of losing that person forever.
It reminds me we have no idea about anyone else’s pain. We don’t know how hard they tried to bear it or what the rationale was. Addiction and obsession will distort perspectives and impair judgment, but addiction and obsession are not simply about narcotics or alcohol. The world we live in and the circumstances of our lives heighten sensitivity, and it all begins when we are too small to comprehend it.
Everyone is narcissistic to one degree or another, but extreme narcissism is so mercilessly destructive. Some people are afraid to “be seen” authentically, while others are afraid to truly “see” people and allow them to shine. The serpent that bedevils us is ego. I know it well. It is an ongoing effort to keep that sucker reigned in and right-sized.
I am no stranger to fear of failure/fear of success, two sides of the same coin, and I’ve watched friends achieve their goals only to find people pulling away. In either case, there is fear and maybe some need to punish ourselves or punish others. Sometimes people have the mindset that others don’t deserve success, because deep down they fear they themselves don’t deserve it, and they’re afraid to try.
I will never subscribe to the belief that I don’t deserve happiness or you don’t. I don’t believe in karma. Some people simply continue doing what they do and ultimately punish themselves. They don’t learn from their mistakes. However, everyone has the opportunity to right his or her wrongs and turn that ship around. I want everyone to learn and triumph and ultimately find happiness and make his or her dream come true.
It is all about healing or not healing. External validation is only a temporary fix. I saw this somewhere, and I believe it: “Everything we seek externally must be resolved internally.” Past turmoil is a boulder we carry everywhere we go. Some hold it up forever while others chip it away, one piece at a time.
My own inner circle has been small the past few years. I’ve spent the time healing and learning from cataclysmic mistakes. I have the fearful anxiety Robin Williams talked about. I know what it’s like when your mind doesn’t stop – the thoughts, the ideas, the obsessions. I deal with a less severe level of agoraphobia. Many people have difficulty, and it’s important not only to acknowledge this but also to share how we have been conquering one battle after another. I don’t want anyone to feel alone in these struggles.
Robin Williams talked about living with shame. It is often shame over things an adult might be able to sort out, i.e., this is theirs not mine. A child cannot do that, and that child is alive deep inside of us feeling shame that belongs to someone else. This is not to say we don’t look back on our own mistakes and feel overwhelmed by guilt and mortification. The combination of what is ours and what we take on as ours can be difficult to bear.
We don’t heal until we feel we deserve better. Everyone deserves healing, but for some it takes a long time and, sadly, some never heal.
I learned we must be patient with the healing processes of others, as beautifully expressed in this piece by Jeff Brown @ http://soulshaping.com/
“Emotional armor is not easy to shed, nor should it be. It has formed for a reason- as a requirement for certain responsibilities, as a conditioned response to real circumstances, as a defense against unbearable feelings. It has served an essential purpose. It has saved lives. Yet it can be softened over time. It can melt into the tender nest at its core. It can reveal the light at its source. But never rush it, never push up against it, never demand it to drop its guard before its time. Because it knows something you don’t. In a still frightening world, armor is no less valid than vulnerability. Let it shed at its own unique pace.”
Rest in peace, dear Robin. We loved you, and the world grieves.
I’m going to end this by sharing a few more things I found helpful.I’m always grateful when people share these great insights and reminders. I always need reminders!
18 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Is
“Life is suffering. We have desires and expectations and egos, and we compare the reality we have, which is miraculous and wondrous, with this reality we desire. That somehow distances us from actually taking part fully with the reality we do have, and that creates suffering. For me, the thing that I love is that it’s all about the present moment.” Alan Ball
© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.