Novelist and Poet

Posts tagged ‘recovery’

WHEN YOU RECLAIM YOUR FAITH, HEART, AND SPIRIT

In Catholic elementary school, one priest admitted to our eighth-grade class that none of the Bible stories we’d learned in the lower grades were meant to be taken literally, that they were just “examples” to give us an idea. I had to ask. An idea of what? What the church wanted? What God wanted? What men who were writing this book thousands of years ago wanted? He wouldn’t say, and though I went on to Catholic high school, there continued to be mixed messages from adults regarding religion.

At first, I took what was worth keeping and dismissed the rest. I read that in a quote somewhere, and it sounded like a good idea. 🙂

Someone later told me if I didn’t believe and support 100% of what the Bible said, I was a “cherry picker.” It ruffled my feathers at the time; I was young, but, in truth, most of the people I knew were cherry picking right alongside me.  They wanted to believe in a higher power, in eternal life. They wanted to feel safe and protected, be loved unconditionally and always forgiven, and to know they could always count on prayer. We wanted to be loyal to our faith while having empathy for others, realizing it isn’t all or nothing, one extreme or the other. We knew that fear-based worship had nothing to do with love.

Since then, I’ve watched many of the most faithful people suffer— not just from financial difficulties and health problems but feeling lost, feeling down, fearing they’d never get what they wanted, what they needed. Despite their praying and continuous efforts, their unmet expectations continued to disappoint them. They often repeated the adage that if you don’t suffer here on earth, you suffer in the hereafter (something like that). Well, we all suffer, but I don’t believe there is a loving father of all creation who wants his children to suffer continually and mercilessly.

Granted, a lot of the time, too, we cause our suffering, thinking everything is about us. Because we can be such masochists, we don’t want to confront certain things to find out that what we’re torturing ourselves with has no basis in truth or that, much of the time, whatever it is doesn’t matter. Some people, too, while vulnerable and suffering, want others to suffer with them. They want to punish and destroy, harm where they might have helped, and I don’t believe that is part of any divine plan. We have the capacity to cause ourselves and others so much pain. 😦

Stopping negative thoughts, for so many of us, is often easier said than done. Even a simple concept like staying in the moment so that we won’t worry needlessly about our past or the future often eludes us. We need a constant reminder to do that! We have our distractions, our obsessions, things that may impair our judgment and distort our reality, and all the time we spend living in false realities, people can take advantage of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and keep us in bondage. But that’s something we have to fix. No one can fix it for us. No one can even help us fix it if we’re not willing to do all the work. And it’s hard work. 😉

This aside, there were many reasons I questioned what I’d been taught as a child. My indoctrination had sorted me into a belief system that worshiped a patriarchal god whose texts subjugated women, enabling a patriarchal society where that subjugation could continue to varying degrees across the globe.

And the funny thing is, for the longest time, I still wanted to believe much of what I’d been taught in my younger years. I was so desperate to believe that, at one point, I sought out devout Christian friends who had what I saw as unshakable foundations. I thought they could say something that would convince me I was wrong. Those people shut me down or shut me out as if I could corrupt their thinking.

You know, it was okay at one time (even cool) for people to go on their little spiritual journey, and the outcome mattered only to the individual. Mine went all the way from Siddhartha and The Prophet to Way of the Peaceful Warrior and beyond. I read about Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pantheism and more recently the beautiful Bahá’í faith. Everything I learn fascinates me. Back in the 90s, I befriended an Egyptian family who passed along much of what was good about Islam and talked about some of the things they struggled with, not unlike many Christians with the harsher truths of the Bible. These days, however, people seem to get upset when you don’t believe what they believe. Even the word journey seems trite.

Exploring is important, though—especially having that freedom to explore. When you do it extensively, the outcome, whatever that may be, brings you to a much higher level of authenticity. You can embrace whatever you choose to believe with less concern about whether someone is going to try to prove you wrong, mock you, or corrupt you.

Still, when you dare to conclude that you don’t believe what your parents and teachers taught you, you find yourself struggling to figure out where you do fit in and what you do believe. You tough it out without your happy place in moments of distress, without feeling safe or protected, and you listen to people make harsh judgments about people like you—that you edged God out, that you don’t have a moral compass, that you are egocentric.

And yet, in my own moment of truth, I became a better person than I ever was, an increasingly more authentic and less narcissistic person, because I wasn’t trying to believe something that didn’t  make sense to me or fit in where I didn’t belong. I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t, without realizing, and I had stopped building the false self I continually needed to expand on with the accumulation of more shame and feelings of inadequacy. I’m not saying this is true for everyone. It was true for me because I lived in a false reality about everything, including who I was.

While I never believed there was anything about me—ethnicity, religion, color, socioeconomic status, that set me apart from anyone else or made me better than anyone else, I did start out in life believing I was on some mission empowered by God. And without realizing, I had disconnected myself from others.

Of all I had learned, one of the things that stuck with me above everything was the whole love one another thing. Yes, I really liked that part. Isn’t it a basic theme in all religions? But it wasn’t the non-believers I’d see hating and punishing one another without conscience.

And there was that perfect love hath no fear business in a society that seems overrun by fear. It began to seem as if allegiance to a god was some way of feeling righteous and superior enough to justify atrocious behavior toward one another—all fear-based and with this tunnel vision about getting to this perfect place called Heaven where we never have to die. Of course, we are human, and as humans, we often fail, but at some point, we have to look at the bigger picture, realize what’s happening and start looking for answers. Because we want to do better.

One of the biggest problems in this world is that people don’t get along, don’t respect each other, and often don’t regard one another as fellow human beings. They can’t understand one another because they don’t listen to each other. They don’t put themselves in someone else’s place and say, “That could be me.” Instead, they look for reasons why that wouldn’t happen to them because they always behave the right way, or they are the “right” sort of person their god wants them to be. It enables them to detach. It’s always this idea that people reap what they sow until tragedy hits home. And it’s easier for some to believe what they want to believe without further exploration because they can be like the child who has to hide and protect his or her cherished toys so that nobody can take them away.

I would never want to shut down people who don’t believe what the holy books say or the people who don’t know what to believe. I don’t want to dismiss the cherry pickers trying to find a safe middle ground or silence the faithful. They are all entitled to their beliefs, as long as they are not committing or condoning crimes against humanity.

I believe, too, those who bring hate into the universe, using it as a weapon, and a divisive tool, these people are significant only at the moment because their time is over. People advocating hate, violence, and oppression serve no divine purpose in doing that. Our higher power is not a means to bury others or to condemn them. That power would connect us not divide us and bring us all together in the end. No loving deity would send some hateful bully to fix what is wrong in our world, and no one who carries that much hatred will go very far, because hate cripples and ultimately destroys. We have defeated that before, and we will defeat it again.

We can fight with a warrior’s resilience and never fight alone.

Our job is to keep resolving things internally, so that we continue to evolve as humans, deepening our understanding, our empathy, and our compassion. Suffering can be a beautiful thing when we are constantly evolving, but not if we’re stuck in the same place emotionally without learning from everything we endure. Every one of us can enlighten as we evolve, heal, learn, grow, and transform.

I truly believe the continuous goal is healing—not simply individual healing but collective healing. We each have our gifts and our tools for contributing to the greater good, and it’s one big, collaborative effort, during which time we need to remain connected as part of a larger entity.

If we must keep influencing ourselves with thoughts, let those thoughts be reminders that we are divine, created by the divine, and divinity surrounds us, and in that way, we have much more power than we know.

We have that power for a reason.

We don’t see everything just yet, and we don’t know everything, but we are creating the future, the world we want to live in, and the world we will leave our children. I’m also daring to believe we can keep evolving toward a much higher consciousness and create the idyllic world we envision.

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Photo credit: The Goddess of Every Sweet Dream by June Yarham

© Copyright August 2, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WHEN IT HURTS—SURVIVING PEOPLE, LIFE AND MADNESS

 

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There are a few reasons I often choose to write about the difficult things I needed to learn the hard way in life. One reason is to create awareness and to advocate for people in similar circumstances. If I’m able to achieve that, I feel fortunate, and it’s one of the rewards of so many missed opportunities or hours spent in isolation. Then there is the “writer” perspective that every experience in our lives is good copy. Nothing should go to waste in this effort—no pain, no joy, and no humiliation. If it can’t be insightful, it just might be entertaining. 🙂

Now and then, someone will read what I’ve written and think, oh, that’s about me. The truth is, it’s probably about a lot of people. In certain life predicaments, you’re bound to encounter individuals with the same issues. You attract them and may even cling to them for a while because it’s familiar.

Personally, I’ve had to take inventory of my behavior over the years in order to heal, grow, and evolve so that I could do better. I’ve had quite a bit of healing to do. Even with a ton of work, there’s always much more to do. And I know why people get stuck where they are. I understand that it’s never hard to go back there in a moment of weakness. I realize, too, that the culprits of our frustration come at us from a place of pain and fear, and that they’re suffering, too. 😦

As trite as it may seem, the main reason for writing what I write is to help myself and others heal and triumph in the process. It’s become a passion since I believe we can’t possibly have enough willing contributors to global and collective healing.

Sometimes, however, we don’t know how much more we can take. We’re already dealing with the world’s latest and ongoing horrors. We’re trying to achieve our goals, live our dreams, and at times face overwhelming disappointment. Meanwhile, the relationships we have with people, through all of these circumstances, often determine whether we have the strength to continue or not.

Conflict resolution is important. To save myself a lot of time and energy, not to mention a whole lot of anguish and pain, I’ve had to learn the telltale signs that there is no hope for resolution. And you can bet it’s a lost cause when you’re dealing with emotional manipulators who will exploit your vulnerabilities.

It happened to me about eight years ago in a recovery group. Not surprising, since people in recovery are learning to reign in ego and recognize character defects so they can become better people. It’s more often about helping one another do that rather than tear each other down, but it doesn’t always work that way. I’m still, on occasion, dealing with the repercussions of that. But it’s one example. Emotional manipulation goes on between people in many different scenarios—work, home, social media, yeah, just about everywhere and all the time.

These people won’t tell you the truth no way no how because they don’t trust you (and that’s because they know you can’t trust them) or because they have too much invested in the opposing perspective. They don’t want to understand you or make allowances or hear explanations. They make assumptions rather than ever ask what the deal is, and they won’t disclose those assumptions. That would make it too easy for you to correct their misinformation. They would rather not argue than admit they could be wrong and deny you the privilege of ever confronting them about anything. You don’t have the right to see them as anything other than the generous martyrs they perceive themselves to be. They’re doing you a favor by being in your life, and everything they do is out of the goodness of their hearts (because they are so nice and so much better than you). And they don’t even realize this is what they are saying in so many ways.

They might even align themselves with people who want you to fail and withhold support for your efforts. Why? Because the naysayers, well, that’s usually the bigger group. That’s the group they want to belong to, and fit in, reaping the attention, admiration, and approval they so desperately need. In light of that, you are expendable. Not that they would see it that way. It’s a heartbreaking thing to come to terms with if you have an ounce of empathy. It brings more guilt and shame no one needs.

You can try asking outright if you’ve done something wrong, but they’ll say no and then continue to demonstrate that they have little regard for you.  The ones who are conscious of what they’re doing will use aggressive behavior if  that’s what intimidates you—become a combative bully or enlist one to do their dirty work. Whatever they learn about you, they will later use it against you.  Get ready for the smear campaign with people playing both sides. You don’t need the drama, mama. Run.

Now, while I may want to extend the same compassion for them that I extended to myself in making peace with the past, it’s hard sometimes. Nothing stings more than being part of someone’s self-serving charade. They value their image and their pride more than they value you, and I believe we should be with people who do more than tolerate us but celebrate and cherish us as we do them.

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There is no good reason for allowing anyone to shatter our self-esteem, undermine us at every turn, and shake whatever faith we’ve managed to muster in ourselves. It’s futile, it’s painful, and it destroys us. We don’t owe anyone that. It’s an absurd self-sacrifice. It’s codependent, and they wouldn’t likely do it for us. Who can afford the constant message these people impart to us, that we are not worth it? Many of us have spent decades fighting to get rid of that message, and we don’t want it back.

So we have to let it all go with love. Walk away with our dignity and self-respect, and protect ourselves from further harm. Because to resolve anything, we need two people who care enough about each other to listen, both willing to own their part in whatever happened.

Bottom line—we have to take care of ourselves. And those times when we feel like giving up are the times to be especially nurturing to ourselves.

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We tend to think, in moments of distress, so many people have it worse, far worse, and we’re lucky. We have so many reasons to be grateful. Yes, that’s true. It’s relative. Perhaps the guilt alone, thinking of what people around the world have to endure while we’re merely battling egos, makes us feel selfish in complaining.

We’re not, though. It is tiring. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating and at times, devastating. Those feelings don’t simply go away because we feel we’re not entitled to them.

I can say, what’s helped me most, through everything, is seeing life as a challenge. Whatever I had thrown at me, I wanted to rise to meet the challenge and thrive. Sometimes I didn’t want that immediately, but give me a little time, and I’m stepping up. That works incredibly well. If I didn’t know when to shut down, when to preserve, protect, back the hell off and breathe in some self-love, I could assure you; I wouldn’t be here.

At the same time, I don’t blame people who feel they’ve had enough and want to give up entirely. I hate when people call them selfish. I’ve said for years, especially if you bring a child into this world; you just stick around. You have no business bringing a child here and then giving up. I clung to that in the worst possible times, and it was a no-brainer. I wasn’t going anywhere. It remained the number one reason I never quit my dreams or my life or gave up the hope that things can and do get better.

Still, if that doesn’t work for another person, my first thought is, I’m not in his or her shoes. I don’t know how hard they tried. I didn’t feel their pain, especially not the way they felt it. I don’t know their threshold. I don’t know how frightening it was to be inside their heads. I do know it can be terrifying to think you are losing it and can’t hold on. Sometimes it’s selfish to expect people to go on while they’re in so much pain so that we can still have them in our lives.

And I wholeheartedly want everyone to go on. I want everyone to heal, to succeed, to live their dreams, and to find their happily ever after. No one asks to come here. No one who sat giggling and gurgling on the rug, playing with their fun little toys, had any idea what the future held.

I do believe, though, there’s enough success to go around, but I’m not always sure about love. Many things get in the way of love—unrealistic expectations, rivalry, ego, and I tend to think if everyone gets enough love from the start, we wouldn’t have all these problems, especially with each other. Maybe fewer people would go wrong in life. I don’t know. But I think, we’d be less inclined to give up on people, because they’d be less inclined to give up on us.

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Louise Hay – Affirmations and Power Thoughts

Eckhart Tolle – Free Your Mind and Learn to Let Go

Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life – Inspiring Message

© Copyright May 4, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SHE STOOD ALONE ON THE EDGE OF DARKNESS

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Through forests of emerald-green bliss,
She pranced,
Embracing the colors of endless play—
The rainbows of summer.
She was a child of the earth.

Her tiny voice sang,
And she danced!
No danger lurked in her twinkling eyes.
Everything in her fearless laughter
Was colored with mirth.

She built castles on the shore
By a peaceful and provident sea
That was never foreboding.
She skipped beneath the golden clouds
Like the world belonged to her,
As if there were no cares
And all who loved her
Would keep her safe.

“Do not lose her,” I said.
“Do not lose that child.
She needs you so desperately.”

And then she had this grave fear of the sea,
This somber foreboding.
It seemed so vast and so deep
From the shore,
A leviathan-green, hellish monstrosity
Full of strange creatures that devoured things.
It was all that lay between her
And some faraway place
On the other side of the globe.

Somehow, it was not so frightening now.
Neither was the past,
The present,
Or all the future obscurities—
Not even those people she once had cherished.

The peace of the waters subdued her now,
As she listened to the thrash of the waves.
She was just playing with a stick in the sand.

There was a noted ambiguity
Whenever she spoke of this place.
Certain moments when she embraced the glorious light
And gazed intently into the darkness.
There were moments, too,
When she felt it creep and crawl around her,
When she ached and trembled,
Longing to free herself from its grip.

While seething within,
She wore the mask of kindness,
Harmless and alluring,
With resentment like hemlock,
Beautiful yet wilting,
Glowing yet tarnished,
Beckoning,
Flourishing,
Standing tall,
And unyielding…
Toxic to all
In her flowering beauty.

The sun was setting,
Salmon clouds under a sky of dodger blue,
Flocks of geese
On a sprawling lawn.
A waxing gibbous moon
Beckoned
Like she needed a guide,
A divine light.

“Come forth,” it said.
“Come home.”
And some of the fear waned
As she went forth,
But nothing really changed.

She stood alone on the edge,
In darkness,
A faint silhouette
Gazing at the night sky.
Rain fell,
A sprinkler to the trees
Thrashing in the wind.

She would flee,
Abandoning places,
Suddenly unrecognizable faces.
The glowing sun of Helios
Was a beacon
For eternal bliss,
Yet deceiving.

The caves beckoned.
Every corner,
Every crevice,
Held its own mystery,
Its truth.

Still the perilous journey
Was madness—
Pretty colors and then
Darkness.
It seemed to have no end.

She heard a child crying,
A child from long ago,
A prisoner of her soul.

Stone walls around her,
Hissing sounds,
Deep, treacherous waters—
Her mind was a fractured maze.
No one could see.
No one could hear.
No safe place to run,
She had to find the way
Out…
Home…

Every stone that healed
Brought her closer to
The truth,
The light.

The climb was steep,
But she held on,
Clawing her way
In blindness,
Accepting,
Facing,
Grieving.

Raindrops glistened on the rocks.
Flower petals littered
The wet grass.
She saw vibrant orchids
In the fading light of the moon,
And, alas,
Tranquil waters glistened
Aqua blue.

Like the ancient alchemical goddess,
She was crowned—
A newborn only beginning
To awaken,
Beginning to see,
Her soul bursting
With bliss.

The beauty within
Became the beauty
Eyes could see,
Not perfection—
Courage, perhaps…
Determination,
Defiance,
And love.

She was free.
No jewel could sparkle with
More radiance,
And the years could not tarnish its shine.

From Remnants of Severed Chains © Copyright October 17, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WINNING THE SELF-SABOTAGE BATTLE WITH SELF-LOVE

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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’re not worth much if they’re worth anything at all, that they can’t accomplish, 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, building good credit along with a nice little nest egg. 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.

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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.

Still, we do 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.

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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.

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“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

Healing Shame by Robert D. Caldwell, M.Div.

 

Feature photo by Bùi Linh Ngân

© Copyright March 4, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

BATTLE FOR SANITY – THE LIES THAT SAVE YOU

 

Anxiety was a tiny flower that grew in the deep shade of my childhood’s fairy tale garden. As it curled open, its petals were an exploding snap of OCD, situational panic disorder, and slight claustrophobia/agoraphobia. I also exhibited signs of Asperger’s and, by my late teens, had developed BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) which peaked in the decade that followed.

I’ve read that people with BDD see themselves as ugly and obsess over perceived defects. As far as I’m concerned, that’s too broad. Since BDD is an obsession, it is an addiction, which means your perception concerning this issue remains distorted, and your judgment is impaired. It’s an ongoing narcissistic conflict of hating/loving oneself and disguising inferiority with superiority. You do convince yourself you are beautiful sometimes. Other times, you believe you are hideous, and it is all a distorted mess. Almost everywhere you turn, you come face to face with twisted, seemingly demonic mirrors that have no mercy.

Well-meaning compliments from others are great, but they don’t stick. I mean, people would tell me I should be a model. The funny thing about people is, they will admire something about you and say you should be this or do that. Then when you become that thing, it’s like, who do you think you are, and why do you think you’re good enough to do that? It becomes another source of rejection and shame.

Anyway, the preoccupation I had with body image led to excessive grooming. I wouldn’t even answer the door if I wasn’t wearing make-up. Without realizing, I had set an impossible standard for myself that didn’t apply to others— as though I were somehow superior. It was an inferiority complex turned inside out—two sides of the same coin. Then, after all the effort exerted in trying to look perfect, I didn’t necessarily have fun. I worried about how I looked. I made several trips to the restroom to check myself in the mirror.

Of course, I gave a lot of thought to how all this developed. Sure, in my life, there was trauma and emotional conflict, plenty of that. There seemed to be an unusual amount of criticism directed at me, including the plain silliness of other kids taunting, laughing. It would make sense that I’d want, at least, the delusion of control over everything. But it went deeper than that. I had a few narcissistic abusers that were a constant presence in my life. Narcissism develops over time in response to narcissistic abuse. You learn to hate yourself until you can create the ‘false’ self that you believe is more acceptable. Sometimes you create strategies that help you cope and enable you to survive until you no longer need them.

Awareness and acceptance helps. For me, it’s always been, oh, I didn’t realize that was an issue, but since it is, I’ll fix it. It takes time and requires ongoing maintenance, but I do feel, in the general sense, we are bigger than the obstacles that derail us, and we have much more power than we realize. I’m not talking about chemical imbalances or illnesses beyond anyone’s control. I’m talking about things that were only beyond my control when I didn’t understand them.

Hey, I grew up with people saying, oh you’re a Scorpio, you hold grudges. You can’t forgive. At first, I thought this was a free pass to punish everyone with mad vindictiveness. Then it occurred to me, I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t have to be anything I didn’t want to be. And today, I am ridiculously forgiving. People close to me find it mind-boggling. It’s nothing heroic. As long as we have empathy for others, we can rise above what weighs us down. Once you get to that point where you can no longer feel empathy, there is little hope for change.

Today, the constant need I had for reassurance and validation has dissipated along with uncontrollable urges to solicit compliments from others. I can go to lunch or dinner with someone and never leave the table. If I do, it’s strictly business. I may glance in the mirror while washing my hands, but I’m back at the table within five minutes. I’m able to stay in the moment, present for every precious exchange. I love, too, that I can run all over town without makeup. People seem just as attracted and accepting, but the important thing is, it doesn’t matter if they like it or not. I’ve managed to become authentic, and that’s everything to me! People who have always been authentic may sneer at that. Honestly, some people don’t want to understand, and that’s their problem. As an aside, I do still hate posting photos of myself. Praise triggers an uncomfortable reminder of needing validation in the past, being in bondage. It feels awkward. There is still the part of me, too, that hates any representation of me, so I haven’t been able to disconnect entirely from that obsession, but I’m working on it.

You know, most people dealing with this won’t talk about it, at least not publicly. Why would they? It’s another shameful thing. People all over the world are in far worse circumstances, and we seem preoccupied with the most ridiculous of the ridiculous. In part, that may be true, but the underlying fear is that you will never be loved for who are, which equates to you will never be loved, period. That seems to be one of the things people fear most in life, almost a fate worse than death, and many young people out there are killing themselves for that. So while I may be alright, there are many out there who have no idea how they’ll make it through another day. Whatever we can do to help them toward the light in the darkness can mean the difference between giving up and holding on.

 

Dr. Phil’s Ten Life Laws
Understanding Anxiety-Related Illnesses
Body Dysmorphic Foundation
Body Dysmorphic Self-Test

 

 

© Copyright January 24, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

THE THORNY PATH OF EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION IS NEVER BLISSFUL

 

Nothing sounds more appealing to me than the idea of being gentle and loving with everyone and everything. I have always believed compassion might be the only thing that could save us. But even taking out of the equation all the obvious monsters who consciously seek to harm others, there are the covert narcissists and emotional manipulators who make life a treacherous, thorn-filled path.

They might be friends, lovers, relatives, people on social media. They often manage to collect a legion of devoted followers in life, and those devotees feel sorry for them whenever they are slighted in any way. In the meantime, it may take you a long time to recover from your experience with them. It’s called narcissistic abuse, and he or she is not worth it.

Have you ever dealt with an online troll? It’s the same thing on a larger scale because these people mean something to you. And they are trolls. They bait others to get a rise out of them. They personalize everything, and when pushed to the extreme, resort to shameless displays of self-pity and ultimately lash out in their uncontrolled narcissistic rage. Much of what they do is to offend or hurt you, and it’s always about them getting to feel better about themselves.

So what is the best advice on dealing with trolls? Don’t deal with them! Don’t deal with them at all. Because if you think they are ever going to feel empathy for you, be accountable, or change, they are not. It’s scary how much they don’t feel for the people they target—like they don’t have any conscience at all.

These narcissists may boast that they are kind, even humble, and they believe everyone should notice and acknowledge their kindness. They are not kind. They are “nice” with an agenda. There’s a difference. I have seen them shame people for not responding the way they wanted which further proves it was never about those people or their concern for those people. It was about others perceiving them the way they wanted others to perceive them. And you ruined that because it’s your job to reinforce the nice image they have created for themselves. They say they were thinking about you, or they wanted to include you out of the goodness of their hearts, but they are desperate and helplessly addicted to approval, attention, admiration, and constant validation that they are superior to everyone else on the planet—flawless and special in every regard.

They make assumptions about others and then base their behavior on these assumptions. They want to believe the worst about you. In the past, when people like this began acting weird with me, I would ask them what was wrong. The answer was always the same. Nothing happened. Nothing is wrong. They deny whatever you experienced.

I ultimately decided, if someone seems to have a problem, and I know I’ve done nothing wrong, it is that person’s responsibility to bring the issue to me. If they don’t care enough about me to do that, then I don’t care why they’re mad. It is a waste of time and energy and often a dangerous game. You can’t trust them to be honest and treat you fairly, and you will never know where you stand with them.

They know how to turn the tables on you, how to take advantage, how to play one person against another, how to get you to feel guilty, feel sorry for them, want to help them, etc. They know how to trash you to others when they don’t get what they want from you and how to get others to believe them. They will smear your name or participate in smear campaigns against you, gladly throw you under the bus, and attempt to destroy you. At the very least, they will stand by while others do it, and say nothing, do nothing. Being popular is more important to the narcissist than you are.

If you have high aspirations and influence, they do not want you to succeed and won’t support you. They don’t even want to see others support you. They can support what they perceive to be mediocre, average, struggling, stressed-out people whose lives are a mess and only because they comfort themselves with the knowledge that those people are not better than they are. It would be wonderful if they truly were kind, empathetic people who genuinely care that people are in pain. However, everything they do is a show to keep up the ‘image.’ And if any of those stressed out, struggling people begin to get too much attention, say because of some horrific tragedy, the narcissist might become resentful. How dare anyone steal his or her thunder!

Narcissists and emotional manipulators don’t necessarily know they are manipulating people or what their problem is. Yes, many of them do, but some are not even consciously aware that they consistently disrespect you. It’s because they are agenda-driven. They are virtual slaves to their emotions. They see themselves as the victims. People are not behaving the way they want. People are not agreeing with them, whether it’s religion, politics, or whatever. And they will forgive the unforgivable before they ever forgive you for not helping them to maintain this image in their heads of themselves as perfect and right and good all the time. With healthy people, you can discuss things and accept most differences in opinion, and you can still love each other. That does not work with narcissists. They need allies and constant validation.

I get that they are unhappy. I do. I know too well how these people got to where they are. When I was at my lowest low, I was oblivious as far as my shortcomings and the many masks I wore. I had to accept my flaws, every one of them and vow to keep working on them. So, I can sympathize. Of course, I wish everyone could be happy, so they could all be kind to each other, but too many broken people out there will never figure out what their problem is, and they will never heal. And the bottom line is, it’s not good for a person’s self-esteem to keep tolerating behavior like that. Some bridges need to be burned for our safety and sanity. I’ve become a great believer in love from afar. Yes, keep sending love—from far, far away. Anonymously. Maybe they’ll get it one day. Until then, you need to protect yourself.

Here are some excellent articles on the subject:

The Narcissist Hates You

The Narcissist’s Enablers Are Also Guilty

8 Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulators and Free Ourselves

Examples of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Collapsed Narcissists

Here is a great video on people pleasing, another form of emotional manipulation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright November 10, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

LOVE OR ADDICTION?

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Some people are fortunate to have the discernment required in connecting with others. Many, despite their intelligence, self-sufficiency, and well-meaning hearts find themselves in unhealthy relationships. I see it happening often.

Based on experience, I offer these warning signs.

Red flags have been waved and ignored.

We witness behavior that raises an eyebrow, things we don’t ordinarily condone. It could be cruel, inappropriate, abusive, or manipulative behavior, derogatory remarks, infidelity, and lack of boundaries or respect for boundaries. Sometimes a person admits to being a jerk, a bastard, or a bitch, and our first instinct is to contradict and thereby comfort them. Sometimes we think because a person can be sweet and charming to us, we are the exception, the chosen one who will make it all better. We’re not.

Someone is on a pedestal.

Your perception of this person goes from one extreme to another. He or she walks on water or is a monster. You have defined who they are—essentially, a paragon of the ideal. You decided beforehand how they should behave and respond. It’s not reality based, and it’s not love. It is obsession—a persistent and disturbing preoccupation with an unreasonable idea or feeling. What you’re feeling has nothing to do with that person. You can’t love someone you don’t see. They are no more than a channel for what you need. An obsession is an addiction. It distorts our perception and impairs judgment. It comes with denial and control patterns that become manipulation. There is no direct communication about needs and desires. Resentments build and fester then erupt into anger. When reality kicks in, it is a long tumble for that person up on the pedestal to the ground. Unrealistic expectations create devastating disappointment.

Unnecessary risks are taken.

You are willing to compromise yourself and your well-being when you don’t have to and sometimes the safety and well-being of others. You may rush headlong into a physical relationship with little knowledge and a good measure of denial instead of awareness, education, and caution.

Principles are compromised.

There is unwilling compliance to avoid wrath and rejection. You find yourself continually compromising your principals and lowering your standards.

You don’t recognize yourself.

You have an unbalanced self-esteem. You feel the other person could not possibly want to live without you. At the same time, you don’t like who you are in this situation or relationship. You don’t like who you are becoming or the way you feel, act or think. You were never this whiny, this jealous, this possessive, this hurt, this confused. You sometimes feel like a basket case.

The relationship impedes your progress.

The relationship distracts you from your goals or seems to have replaced them. It happens in new relationships, but if you are unable to get back on track or have abandoned your dreams entirely, it’s a problem.

You are often confused.

You don’t know what to believe because your judgment and perception remain clouded.

It’s stressing you out.

Eating and sleeping patterns may have changed. You are not properly taking care of business or yourself. You may feel more paranoid, more OCD, more anxious. People have a lot to work through in relationships. Stress is normal, but constant stress that renders your life unmanageable is not.

You feel like you are in bondage.

You try to fight it. You want to be free of this person. At the same time, you want nothing and no one to come between you. You may isolate to have more time to focus on your obsession. When what you want is dangled before you, you can’t resist. When deprived of it, you are sick—mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically. You may feel you cannot be honest about this relationship or situation with anyone including yourself. You continue to want the same thing from this individual not realizing that after a while, you don’t enjoy it, and maybe you never did, yet you still need it. The moments of comfort and bliss are fleeting. A feeling of emptiness prevails. It causes agonizing pain for you. You may feel as if you are in bondage because you are. At times, you can’t stand up for yourself because you are somehow at a disadvantage, at the mercy of your obsession.

Nine Inch Nails: The Perfect Drug (1997) from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.

This unhealthy connection can exist in friendships as well or in relationships with family members.

It helps to determine what the addiction is for you in this case. What is the payoff? What is the issue that has made you so vulnerable?

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Love is good, but to feel comfortable loving and receiving love in return, we must know we deserve it. We must know we are worthy. Getting to that place opens another door in the journey of our recovery from past trauma and emotional abuse. Beyond it, more beauty awaits, and more joy.

9 Warning Signs That You Are In A Dangerous Relationship

What Self-Love Means: 20+ Ways to Be Good to Yourself

 

© Copyright May 24, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

AN OPEN LETTER TO YOUR INNER CHILD BY ALISON NAPI

2b6c139b3f1567f5923d6f1ab3544af0I am often in awe of beautiful things shared from the heart. This “love letter”, by Alison Napi, appeared on Rebelle Society, one of my favorite sites. It speaks to many of us, regardless of what we may believe about miracles and God. It’s worth sharing over and over. Enjoy.

An Open Letter to Your Inner Child
by Alison Napi

To the child who couldn’t understand
why nobody could understand.
To the one whose hand was never taken,
whose eyes were never gazed into by
an adult who said,
“I love you.
You are a miracle.
You are holy,
right now and
forever.”

To the one who grew up in the realm of “can’t.”
To you who lived “never enough.”
To the one who came home to no one there, and
there but not home.

To the one who could never understand why
she was being hit
by hands, words, ignorance.

To the one whose innocence was unceremoniously stolen.
To the one who fought back.
To the one who shattered.
To the never not broken one.
To the child who survived.

To the one who was told she was
sinful, bad, ugly.

To the one who didn’t fit.
To she who bucked authority
and challenged the status quo.

To the one who called out
the big people for
lying, hiding and cruelty.

To the one who never stopped loving anyway.

To the child that was forbidden to need.

To the ones whose dreams were crushed
by adults whose dreams were crushed.

To the one whose only friend
was the bursting, budding forest.
To the ones who prayed to the moon,
who sang to the stars
in the secrecy of the night
to keep the darkness at bay.

To the child who saw God
in the bursting sunshine of
dandelion heads
and the whispering
clover leaf.

To the child of light who cannot die,
even when she’s choking
in seven seas of darkness.

To the one love
I am and you are.

You are holy.
I love you.
You are a miracle.
Your life,
your feelings,
your hopes and dreams–
they matter.

Somebody failed you but you will not fail.
Somebody looked in your eyes and saw the sun — blazing — and got scared.
Somebody broke your heart but your love remains perfect.
Somebody lost their dreams and thought you should too,
but you mustn’t.

Somebody told you
that you weren’t
enough
or too much,
but you are
without question
the most perfect
and holy creation of
God’s
own
hands.

*****
{You Are Loved}

from: An Open Love Letter to Your Inner Child on Rebelle Society

i-have-survived

GUEST POST: RACHEL THOMPSON

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It is a delightful honor to present this guest post from author and activist, Rachel Thompson (pictured above). I got to know this phenomenal lady when we began following one another on Twitter. She was a guest on my radio show back in January, discussing the #nomoreshame project along with Bobbi Parish and Athena Moberg. Rachel  writes beautiful prose from the heart with refreshing honesty. Here, she discusses her latest book, Broken Places, and why someone who hasn’t had similar experiences, should read it.

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Book Summary:

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

AWARDS

  • IndieReader Approved

Indie

 

 

 

PRAISE FOR BROKEN PLACES:

“BROKEN PLACES succeeds as the gritty memoir of a woman who was sexually assaulted when she was young and the author’s story of survival will surprise the reader because of its candidness and unexpected ending.”
~IndieReader

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES READ THE BOOK?

by Rachel Thompson

Thank you for hosting me, Kyrian.

One of the reasons I wrote Broken Pieces, and the newly released Broken Places, is to give people an idea of the aftermath of living with childhood sexual abuse in an emotional, almost lyrical way. Poetic, really, as opposed to clinical. A personal view.

The books deal with my own experiences, but there are universal truths that many people, particularly women, are familiar with: depression, anxiety, PTSD, and how it all merges to affect my life now as a woman in all my many roles, in both positive and negative ways.

I’d like to say that it’s not something many people will experience, but sadly the statistics refute me, as one in three girls under the age of eighteen will be sexually abused, and of those, 90% will know their abuser; one in six boys will experience the same. And that’s just what is reported! (Source: RAINN.org)

The question many people ask me, if they haven’t been abused, is if writing about dealing with these tough subjects is cathartic, and the answer is: yes and no. Yes, because the response has been amazing – connecting with other survivors, starting the weekly Twitter #SexAbuseChat (Tuesdays at 6pm PST) with therapist/survivor Bobbi Parish is especially rewarding, as is co-creating the #NoMoreShame Project Anthology with Bobbi and survivor/life coach Athena Moberg (published later this year by Booktrope).

No, because it doesn’t change what happened. Despite having dealt with much of the feelings of shame involved (I was eleven when the abuse occurred), I still deal with nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and depression. Writing about it doesn’t change the past, but what it does do is help others understand that survivors aren’t whining or using our experience as an excuse in life’s difficult moments.

Being a voice is crucial to me, so survivors and non-survivors alike will understand with compassion what so many women experience. Broken Pieces has won many awards and hit #1 on several Amazon lists. Broken Places has already hit #1 Women Authors and Poetry – I’m quite excited by the reception and the wonderful reviews. I hope your readers will be, too!

Thanks for having me, today.

*********

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check outAuthor Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Broken Places:

Title: Broken Places

Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 124 pages
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: ebook: January 13, 2015 * print: January 12, 2015
ISBN-10: 162015689X
ISBN-13: 978-1620156896
ASIN: B00S7R7BWI
Purchase: Amazon

Author Contact Information:

Website: rachelintheoc.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH

It was a pleasure to host you on your book tour, Rachel. Best of luck to you in your new book journey!

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