Behind the Cries for Attention – Alternate Reality Creation

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In my last blog, I looked at a memory where I was a small child yearning and longing for my father to come to me. I wanted ‘attention’, but did not ask for it. When he did not come, I, in that moment, planted the seeds of behaviour that lasted a lifetime: self-isolation, loneliness, sadness, not feeling good enough and low-self worth eventually led to manipulation, blame, failed relationships and a lot of anger at myself.

These seeds took root over time. This strategy of using blanket statements such as ‘wanting attention’, but not knowing why, and then pushing it down and not understanding it, created the behaviours listed above over the decades that followed. As it turns out, had I understood what it was I was actually desiring in that moment, I could have simply taken the steps to start living it for myself. Instead, I separated myself from it and created a self-definition over time, and an entire alternate reality play-out that was completely unnecessary. In this new reality I created,  I was the disempowered victim that could never be good enough. So, we’ll have a look now at how this happened:

What was behind the desire for ‘attention’, and was it even ‘attention’ that was wanted?

Upon further investigation of the memory, I saw an interesting thing. It was not so much that I wanted my father’s attention at all. When I looked over at him all those years ago while he was working hard in the alleyway, as I played with my trucks in the gravel, I was actually noticing a very cool expression he was living. He was exactly as I said: working hard. There was intent and dedication to get the job done. What he was doing looked important, needed, he was contributing to something, doing something that needed to get done for the betterment of the house, the group. He had purpose.

I then looked down at my trucks. I had really been enjoying my imaginary world where my trucks were pushing the gravel and loading/unloading it, making little piles here and holes there. But After I looked at my father, then back at my trucks – my imaginary world fell apart. I was all of a sudden looking at silly plastic trucks in the dirt. It wasn’t real, there was no point. What I was doing wasn’t important, needed, useful. In fact, if I were to call him over I would be stopping him from his important work to come over to me… for what? I was taking it easy and contributing nothing. And so, in my mind I created a false dilemma: Either you are important, needed, of value, with purpose, intent and dedication to something, or you are not. I left no room for an in-between, a learning process.

The consequences of this over time is that I learned to separate myself from words and expressions that I observed in others. Instead of seeing and realizing that what I observe in others I can actually integrate into myself. I instead, over time, decided that I needed those others in my life to fulfill that for me.

What I did show though, in that moment, is what was important to me, what I want from and of myself in this life, which is to be important, needed, useful, contributory, I want to have purpose, to support the group, I want commitment, intent, focus, dedication, a strong work ethic, and I want to push myself.

Instead, over time, I made myself unimportant through withdrawing, instead of needed I became needy, I began to see myself as useless and a burden on others and with nothing to contribute, I had the desire to be supported and taken care of, not committing too much to any one thing, losing focus, missing dedication and not pushing myself to be better.

I arrived at a point in my life where living this way was showing me that I am in fact amounting to nothing, and the future looked bleak. I could see more and more that there is a major misalignment between what I want for myself and my life, and what I am living. Thankfully, around that time,  I found a group of people online that were taking on just such points.

I found Desteni, and I learned about self-forgiveness, among many other tools of self-support. I turned my life around and began to integrate all of these words and qualities I had been living the polarity of. I walked and am still walking a process with it, where I went to extremes and became like a machine, completely overdoing it and burning myself out! So now I take all the lessons from the first memory, to how it played out in my life, to my mis-aligned correction, to the present moment where I realize balance, discernment, self-understanding and many more words that continue to support me in my quest back to myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to, in the moment of looking at my father, in the act of ‘admiring’ the words he was living, immediately separate myself from these words, placing them outside of myself, unattainable, and diminish myself through judging myself as ‘not that’ (instead of ‘not that YET’).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to, upon admiring my father’s work, judge myself as unimportant, unable, without worth, value, importance, with nothing to contribute and having no purpose.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to use my own self-judgment through comparison to make excuses, validations and justifications for why I can not move myself to develop myself into and as the words I observed within and as my father.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to hold on to this initial judgement, and the self-limiting beliefs that I connected to it in order to diminish and sabotage my efforts throughout my life the develop myself as these words, overlooking the work I have done and the skills and qualities that I have integrated, simply because underneath it all is still the initial self-judgment and self-definition that I have no real value, worth, importance, am not good enough, and so do not ‘experience’ myself as having made anything of myself, which is nothing but further self-manipulation to not take self-responsibility, because I can still cling to the backdoor that: “I just really can’t do it – look, despite all my efforts, I am still nothing”, as if I am saying a big “fuck you” to the universe and so to myself, a self-righteous “I told you so”, instead of an unconditional letting-go and forgiveness of all these things that I have defined myself by.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to look to other people, to their skills and qualities, and to long for them, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that in doing so, I am separating myself from these qualities and from being able to develop these qualities into and as myself through a process of learning.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to avoid the learning and physical integration process of certain skills and qualities I desire by instead being drawn to people that have these qualities, and then bring them into my life in a try and attempt to fulfill what feels like ‘holes’ in myself that I was not tending to and filling for myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to abdicate my self-responsibility to fulfill myself (fill the holes), and instead look to others to apparently make me whole, for me.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to compare myself to the people whose skills, abilities and qualities I am drawn to, and instead of taking the opportunity to properly learn from them, diminish myself to their polar opposite through comparison and self-judgment that “I am not that” – all to avoid the simple act of self-responsibility.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to diminish myself, creating self-limiting beliefs about myself, facilitating procrastination and resistance, creating anxiety, stress and anger at myself within myself, which pre-occupies my time and my mind, all in order to keep me busy in my mind instead of actually applying myself to be and become that which I really  want, which is to be and become the living words such as: important (to myself), needed (providing something of value as an expression of me), contributing, supporting myself and others in my life, defining and understanding my purpose, living with ‘intent’ (meaning, living intentionally, not to be misunderstood as ‘having intentions’, because we all know what those can do), commitment, and challenge/pushing myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to, instead of practicing, applying and living words into and as myself as Who I Am as mind/being/body as an act of self-responsiblity, I instead participated in manipulation, thinking and believing that others could do this for me, feeling that others should  do this for me, that I cannot do this for myself and so I neeeeeeeed  others to be this and do this for me, and so participating in neediness and blame when and as they did not/could not/would not.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to manipulate others instead of taking responsibility for myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think, believe and perceive that I cannot take responsibility for myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think and believe and perceive that there are certain things I simply cannot do, and so I need others to do it for me, instead of seeing and realizing that I am blinding myself and disempowering myself from those things that would empower me most.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create an alternate reality where I am a helpless victim, everything is against me and life is just ‘too hard’, instead of seeing and realizing actual reality, instead of seeing and realizing myself make it through and in fact do well in many cases, but holding on to the self-limiting beliefs simply because ‘it might’ become too hard.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to teeter on the edge of standing up and falling, wondering why I simply cannot stand “no matter how hard I try”, not seeing that it is me, myself that is still holding open the backdoor for fear that everything I believe about myself may be true.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to long for others to ‘save me’/’fix me’/’make me whole’, to go into sadness and isolation when others do not to ‘save me’/’fix me’/’make me whole’, to take it personally that others cannot to ‘save me’/’fix me’/’make me whole’, and so finally blaming others for what they could not do, instead of stepping up to become my own saviour, fixer, fulfiller, placing myself as that importance in my life that I put the time and effort into understanding and so developing myself into what it is I truly want.

 

 

I Created This

I created this

 

In my previous few blog posts I described a negative self and life experience. One of isolation, abandonment, aloneness, sadness, inability to communicate, being closed off and essentially being ‘cut-off’ from the world and those close to me.  I looked at the internal and external factors that contributed to this reality, found solutions and mapped out a road to change.

One important factor that I will go into now is how one is able to create such a reality for self. This means, acknowledging the fact that I am not a victim, but a creator. If we are victims and believe ourselves to be victims, then we are powerless to change the situation. The victim mindset is an addictive one, and lulls one into a state of passivity and complacency.

This creates what feels like a ‘safe space’, where one is not responsible and so does not have to do much of anything to change Self or one’s reality. One must simply wait for external circumstances to change, and hope that they change for the better. If and when they don’t, bad internal and external habits can freely run, and blame, spite and manipulation can take root, eventually accumulating to a form of hatred and repulsion towards self and others. If you look at how these emotions can play out in one’s life, you see one thing: the creation and perpetuation of the very problem that caused them in the first place.

In digging down through the layers of my own personal experience, which is no doubt similar to many others, I can finally see the cause and reason of why I created this for and by myself. Not to blame or judge myself with this information, but to correct myself so that I do not continue it. I will take a memory I have been working with to use as an example here.

The memory takes place when I was two or three years old and I was playing in the alleyway behind my house. My father was busy working near by, and appeared to be very busy. In that moment, I had a longing experience, wanting my father to come to me and play, as I was feeling quite alone there in the alley, with him a distance away.

Instead of calling to my father to ask him to come over to me, or to express that I wanted some time with him, I instead just watched him and hoped that he would notice me, notice how I was feeling, and come over. When he did not, I took it personally, as if he did not want to come, or that it meant I was insignificant, or he did not care, or whatever other hurtful story I could tell myself in that moment. And this is where the manipulation tactics kicked in.

I was hurt, I wanted attention and I didn’t know how to communicate it or understand that this is what was going on. So I took the emotions, the sadness, the longing, the aloneness, and simply made them ‘louder’, so that people could see and realize: I am suffering, I need help. Over time. I made myself even more sad, I pulled away even more, now living out my emotions physically so that anyone could see. I became quieter in a try and attempt to communicate to “hey, look at me, I want and need attention right now”.

As I amplified the reactions in hopes they would be heard, I also went into them more, believed them more, made them more real for myself. When people still did not adequately notice, as these things can be imperceptible and an unexpected form of communication, I took it even more personally.

The logic being: now I am suffering more, I am more unhappy and miserable, and people still choose to ignore me. I must be very invisible, bad, unworthy, useless, unwanted etc etc… and the cycle repeats and becomes more integrated over time.

What is this cycle doing but creating self into one that self-isolates, does not speak up and voice self, puts up defensive walls due to the hurt, closes up more, pulls away, and at the same time, starts to judge self, bully self, punish self and verbally abuse self. Over the years, this becomes so convincing, that it is believed and perceived to be very very real. And because how this functions is not seen or understood, one feels as though one is the victim in this scenario, instead of seeing and realizing how one created it.

It was a manipulation tactic from the get-go. Much like a child whining, screaming, acting out – it is the same thing in a different expression. Like the polarity of the more recognizable cries for attention.

Now looking over the years as one grows from a child, to a teen then an adult – the same pattern, if not recognized and corrected, persists. It is the same pattern, but it morphs, grows and evolves over time along with the person, so now it looks like an adult problem, when in reality it is an un-dealt with, undefined and un-directed problem from childhood.

For me personally, the pattern emerged towards whoever I thought or believed was apparently responsible to make me feel better – parents, friends, relationship partners. In relationships, for example, I would think that now this person must make me happy through hearing, seeing and understanding me, giving me certain attention that makes me feel valued and worthy, accepted and loved, and all the things I had slowly given away over time.

These things were given away as the above-mentioned pattern was busy playing out and evolving – where I believed I had to go deeper into my suffering and misery in order to ‘make it louder’ to be noticed, seen and heard. Then of course the self-judgment, self-bullying, self-punishment and abusive self-talk that came through when I continued to not always be noticed in my misery. There is not always a saviour, and even when there is, it becomes tiring for them to constantly pull another out of their inner hell. It becomes a self-sacrifice for them.

I would of course balance this out with happy times and a positive self-presentation, cyclically descending into the self-misery point with and through the ups and downs of life and relationships. Like a constant accumulation and release, without realizing the layering and integration happening, where the manipulation slowly becomes Who You Are as one that is, for example, lost, isolated, unwanted, unworthy, and all the ways one can judge self and make self unhappy as a cry for attention from the outside world.

The real ugly part of this is the blame that takes place when and as the ‘outside world’ does not respond as is desired by the one manipulating/crying for help or attention. It is taken personally and so blame is then used, from here it can go into spite, ‘punishing’ others, aggressiveness, demanding, where unmet expectations and disappointment can break down others in the eyes of the manipulator. All very nasty stuff that is maybe not so nice to look at and see, but is the truth and reality of ourselves.

We all present nice and pretty pictures to the outside world, deceiving those around us, and most often also deceiving ourselves about who we really are inside ourselves. If you look at the world, society and how groups of people interact… look at relationships, conflict, abuse, and all of these things that are rampant in our societies – this in itself is revealing the real truth of people. It’s just that some can contain it more or express it differently in more subtle ways that go unnoticed, or that are so accepted now by people within themselves that they either don’t see it, see it as normal, or don’t question it due to thinking and believing that ‘this is just the way it is’. We can also get used to being treated poorly by others, with poor treatment becoming the ‘new normal’ over time.

But there is a silver lining here: if the patterns are defined, identified and understood, and one moves from victimhood to empowerment, then a change can be made. For me personally, what this looks like is me stopping creating my own inner misery when I feel like I need something from someone. Instead I can simply express it an ask. Unfortunately, I also have to face all the consequences as the self-judgments and essential self-abuse that I have imposed upon myself over time as cries for attention or reactions to my own self-talk and self-beliefs. But here again is the silver lining, where I tell myself I will stop all of this now, I will take back my responsibility to myself, and I will change.

Now is the process of developing one’s communication, one’s self-worth and value. This is where one has given self the opportunity to step up and learn how to honour and respect self, develop the integrity and trust within oneself that enables one to complete Self instead of thinking and believing this is required from an outside source.

This way, one can now enter into relationships as a Whole – not as a partial and incomplete person that needs another to complete self – but one that loves and values self so much that the cup spills over into the lives of others who share one’s reality.

The Yin of the Chin

Yin: (in Chinese philosophy) the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold.

My chin has been breaking out and irritated for months now, and when I look back, I see it has been coming up for years. I looked to Chinese reflexology and philosophy to find what words the chin represents, and how I can correct Who and How I Am in relation to these words, with the written word as my script and blueprint for change.

The words I will be working with are: temperament, emotions, prudence, vigour and wisdom. I use the dictionary definition as a starting point because this is how we have collectively accepted and allowed ourselves to live these words, which is not always best for Self (or All). In this way, we can re-define the words in such a way that is best, as follows:

Temperament – a person’s nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior.

It is interesting to note the limitation in the dictionary definition that we have all on some level accepted and allowed without challenge. The words ‘nature’ and ‘permanent’ for example, make it seem unchangeable, something to live and exist with and as forevermore. And it certainly feels that way, as we are born with a certain temperament, enter into the world as that, and then have that experience reflected to us throughout our lives because that is what we are ‘putting out there’ into the world, our relationships and environment.

For me personally, I have been, since I was a child, slow to warm up, stand-offish, quiet, aloof, shy and not feeling safe to share myself. It is as if I was born fearing my own internal experience, feeling as if I was a small and fragile seed inside an incredibly thick shell, locked inside, too terrified to look within and equally terrified to let it out.

Since as far back as I can remember – I would fear to express myself or ask for needs to be met, creating a very alone and withdrawn experience, like a seed full of potential, but not being given (giving to Self) the opportunity to sprout and greet Life, and so like a seed without water, nutrients and sunlight, slowly starving and dying.

This experience was not something caused by a trauma or event, it is and was simply ‘my temperament’ as a result of genetics, environment and who I am, and so what I had created through how I was living – believing this is the way it is and so it cannot change.

This was not only accepted by myself but also by those in my world, and so reinforced through actions and words over time. And over time this caused me to create relationships of perceived and real ‘lack’ and ‘wanting’, an isolated existence, and a sadness from the longing to share, connect, open up, reach out and break through, but not knowing how, and so turning in, closing down and hardening.

The fact that this was and is a negative and unpleasant experience pushes me to see that I always knew I was and wanted more than this for my Self and Life. The sadness and isolation indicating a knowing of something else, something more, and that this is not how it has to be. Also because in moments where I would feel ‘safe’ enough, meaning comfortable enough, connected enough to those around me, I would discover inside myself something entirely different and quite enjoyable, a delightful expressiveness that would at times surprise even me. 

However, it had mostly been contingent on the external environment, and not something cultivated from within that can stand no matter what. I personally have tried to ‘do it alone’, and this backfires every time because the point is connection, connecting, opening up, bringing Self out and letting others in. When this is done alone it is impossible to decipher if progress is being made or not. I will think I am making progress only to be triggered again into the point, and then with the inner affecting the outer and vice versa, the act of turning in, closing up and hardening turns one’s presence into something like a coldness and a closedness, perpetuating the isolation, loneliness and sadness once again.

And so I have been challenging myself: to open up more, to speak more, to express myself and my needs, to receive more, to offer more, to participate more, to include myself more, to understand more, to let go and ‘do me’ more, and to BREATHE more.

It may sound like a tall order to anyone that can relate to the particular nature/temperament I described above: not only breaking out of the shell, stepping forth from behind thick walls, but doing so boldly, and sometimes not into a nurturing and inviting garden, but into the scorched earth one had unintentionally created for Self through withdrawing and isolating. It is a slow and steady step by step process of identifying moments of opportunity and doing one’s best to act accordingly in those moments.

For example, in moments of sharing, wether in a group or one-on-one, I noticed I will say the minimal amount of words, or none at all. And then when the moment is over, there is a feeling of disappointment, feeling slightly ‘crushed’, like a lost opportunity. Now, instead of ‘turning in’ and withdrawin, I ‘TUNE in’ – tuning into myself, looking inside to see what is there, take what is there and formulate it into words, bring those words up from deep inside, into my throat, passing through my vocal chords and finally out of my mouth as words expressed and so participation and sharing me taking place – Hopefully with this process happening quickly enough that I don’t take too long and miss the moment completely! – It is a matter of practice.

Within this, a better definition for ‘temperament’ could be sounded as the ‘temper-I-meant’, meaning: the Temper (state of mind) I Meant (As a deliberate decision of what is best for Self and Others).  As you can see in the writing above, the state of mind I ‘meant’ (wanted/intended) to cultivate was connection/connecting, sharing, openness, expressing, breaking through, stepping forth, inviting in, asking for wants/needs to be met. However, the temperament manifested as the opposite: closed off, cold, distancing, isolating, unsharing, starving, longing, sadness, becoming angry and irritated over time. This is not what I meant/intended/wanted to create, but was done as a coping mechanism for not knowing how to crack the shell or take down the walls myself, mostly because I never questioned or challenged the fact that there can be another way.

Once one opens oneself up to this understanding – that one can be different and there is another way -, the rest can be walked accordingly. Like making the decision to plant a garden, once that decision is made, the next steps are just a matter of living it in application.

Next Word:

Emotion – a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

The ‘natural instinctive state of mind’ would be the outflows/emotions deriving from the temperament  described above, with ‘one’s circumstances’ being the set of circumstances one had actually created for oneself, with the mood and relationships also resulting from the temperament, and not some outer thing disconnected from and unaffected by who one has been and become within oneself.

This is another fatalistic and disempowering dictionary definition, using words such as “natural” and “instinctive”, as if this is simply the way one is and must be. The definition states that one’s internal emotional state is derived from outside sources, such as circumstances and relationships, as well as one’s mood, as if one has no choice in the matter of mood and what one participates in within oneself and one’s own mind that creates that mood, those circumstances and the relationships in the first place.

I was recently listening to an Alan Watts speech, in which he was describing his understanding of the many different facets of love, and different people’s abilities to express it. He was explaining that even if you are the most self-centered type of person that only loves on the level of lust or self-serving enjoyment, that you should not abandon that style of loving in order to try to be like those that are capable of exuding a selfless love in every moment as Who they are. He insists that you continue to love as you can, because even in this kind of love, there exists a love for Self and Other, and within that, one can actually be well on one’s way to expanding their abilities beyond the selfish to the acceptance of self as other, and so the development of a fuller and more inclusive love.

I use this as an example here because of the self-judgment that can take place when one that is not so expressive, such as myself, can tend to look to those that are very expressive, and then use that negative judgment to further perpetuate the negative emotional experience. What I got from Watts example was to take what you DO have and want to develop, and to fully embrace and cultivate that part of you. Otherwise, if we abandon through judgment those parts of us that are apparently not ‘up to par’- it would be like sitting in a stationary car, watching all the experienced drivers on the road in comparison and judgment, without ever actually putting the key in the ignition, stepping on the gas and trying, practicing, learning from the starting point of where we are actually, realistically at.

It is important here to define my understanding and living of ’emotions’- where I do not like to put too much stock in the energetic experiences that pass through my body, influencing my actions words… or lack of words. Emotion = e-motion, or ‘energetic motion’, which has zero impact on the outside world as it takes place only inside self, and can become quite a delusional and twisted version of reality in which self exists alone. Rather focus on the physical world and ground oneself there, where actions have outflows that are measurable and can be cross-referenced.

I’d rather look at the feelings and emotions that swirl around inside of me as un-expressed and misunderstood parts of me that I have not yet given a voice, words, definition and understanding. And so they are trapped inside of me like souls stuck in limbo, wreaking havoc in my life and world until I address their issues and settle them into as as a living , expressing part of me. I cannot accept them as real and valid when it is only sensations within me, because I have too many times acted on them, lived according to them, only to realize that I was completely wrong and off-base, actually blaming and spiting the world around me when all the while it was ME, parts of ME that needed attention, tending to, to be taken responsibility for, to be addressed and changed.

Here to redefine the word ’emotion’ to ‘expression in motion’ as described above as how this can be lived as a choice in every moment – where the process of expression comes first from daring to look at the sensations, understanding and defining them, and then bringing them through into the physical for speaking, application, grounding, cross-reference and feedback.

Next Word:

Prudence – the quality of being prudent; cautiousness (careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.)

This word ties into the previous words quite nicely, as it is this apparent ‘prudence’, or cautiousness and avoidance of ‘problems’ or ‘dangers’, where the identification ‘problems’ and ‘dangers’ are mis-allocated into a perception that expressing self is ‘unsafe’, ‘dangerous’ and problematic, where one will instead practice ‘prudence’, and not dare to share and express self.

I have found for myself that I have been overly prudent in sharing parts of me that are real and need to be expressed, and then reckless in other aspects of behaviour where the suppressions come out – in the past through drinking and acting out, and later on in reactions of all sorts towards events, things like my job or people in my world.

The simple act of flipping the application of this word, where the prudence is placed more on the way the suppression is handled, where there CAN be real dangers and problems caused in one’s world, real consequences  that can have a detrimental effect in one’s life when one acts recklessly in an outburst or as a result of an accumulation of suppressed emotions.  So to place a guard in front of one’s mouth and one’s actions in this context – in other words, to apply prudence – whereas when it comes to self-expression as a process of understanding and defining and then applying oneself in sharing and participating in one’s world – here there should be a recklessness in terms of throwing caution to the wind and speaking despite fears, because those fears are unfounded, because in fact, no one can hurt or harm Who We Really Are inside ourselves (except for by our own acceptance and allowance). And so in fact, there is no danger, no problems to be found, only lessons to be learned, trials and errors leading to eventual expansion and self-development.

To redefine this word I look to the origins of the word, found here: “Prudence (Latin: prudentia, contracted from providentia meaning “seeing ahead, sagacity”) is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.”

To be prudent is to have the reasonable (common-sensical) foresight, the sagacity to be able to discern between what are the real threats and problems to be cautious about and avoid – such as real world, physical reality consequences and outflows- and what are ‘false-flags’ such as perceived or imagined feeling or emotional ‘dangers’ and ‘problems’ in the mind only. 

I will continue with the words ‘Vigour’ and ‘Wisdom’ in my next blog…

Defining the Problem

I think it is important to become so glaringly and impeccably familiar with the internal and external experiences that create and contribute to the outflow of obsessive compulsive and addictive behaviour, so that when one participates in such behaviour it is done in absolute awareness and so seen as a choice rather than a compulsion.

I say this because my experience over time with this disorder is one of confusion, feeling lost, alone, cornered, and also fearing the experience as it becomes quite overwhelming. This leaves one in a position of disempowerment, with the  experience of isolation, helplessness and desperation, which is actually eventually manifested for real in one’s environment over time.

One term I have been given which has  helped me to understand more is the term ‘physical mind’. If you look at emotions, feelings and reactions, notice that there is a process involved in accumulating such experiences over time where, if left unchecked, it will manifest into words and actions in physical reality eventually. Now imagine if these experiences, once created,  move straight to the physical stage. Like becoming so angry over time where you eventually end up screaming or hitting something, where you actually have quite a bit of leeway to stop the process before it accumulates into an out-of-control play-outs in your environment, versus the outburst being immediately here upon conception, and so more difficult to stop.

I use anger as an example because it is more extreme and so easier to see and identify with. But the same goes for any and all reactions, such as fears, judgments, insecurities, surprises, beliefs, thoughts etc… where it goes directly from conception to physical experience and then a ‘shutting it down’ through supression (So that one can function ‘normally’ in the world . Within this, because of the fact that such reactions are generally triggered by the external environment, such as by people or events, the belief is formed within oneself that this is being done ‘unto me’. With such intense internal experiences, simply waking up in the morning and living out one’s day begins to feel like an unsafe and scary thing to do, because the body l, as an internal experience, is taking quite the beating. From intense reactions, to what feels like a ‘violent’ suppression, and then the physical harm being done to the body by self and one tried to find relief. I will explain:

As a child, without any understanding, the world becomes a terrifying place, and the way I personally handled it was by ‘shutting down’ and shutting out the world, through sinking deeper and deeper into myself, and I very early learned how to immediately suppress.

Suppression is learned early on because you obviously can’t ‘act out’ all of the intense things you are experiencing. I remember learning how to suppress early in life because in observing my environment I saw nobody else acting out anything intense inside. So I also ‘acted normal’, pushing down the experiences into myself and holding them there. The daily experience was so overwhelming that I would be taken aback, not having any clue of how to handle it or direct it, so I would simply ‘swallow it’, push it down and pack it away inside myself.

What happens as one ages is that it becomes more difficult, more crowded inside, and so the energy has to find a way out. Now, this is not unique to people with a disorder. Everyone experiences this. The difference is the intensity, where it is experienced physically, and there is seemingly no ‘natural’ energy processing or management happening. This accumulated energy must be dealt with deliberately, ‘manually’, otherwise it sits in he body making the body feel like it wants to explode, and also coming out in physical ways such as rashes, growths and physical disorders and behaviours. And so, because it is physically manifested in the body, and eventually also presenting itself physically, one wants to then ‘get into’/’dig into’ the body to ‘get it out’.

It becomes a physical self-destruction as a seeking for relief, where the deliberate ‘energy management’ is morphed, twisted and tainted, where the popping of a pimple or the opening of the skin and removal of ‘foreign objects’ (both  real and imagined), becomes a very real-feeling yet symbolic act of relief, release, removal and purification – because the energy inside feels exceptionally dirty, and so the body, inside and out, feels dirty, tainted, polluted and filthy along with the pressure and overwhelm that needs to be removed.

So when you look at, feel, touch the body, the surface of it, so the skin – you connect the internal experience of suffocation, wanting to explode, pressure, filth, chaos, dirty-ness, disorder, pressure, holding back/holding in – all of it- all of it gets projected onto the body and so the skin as that which is visible of the body. The body becomes the problem, and the skin becomes the problem, and additionally, you/I become the problem, and so a solution is sought, but without any understanding, the solution is not a real solution, and becomes instead a coping mechanism, a procrastination, trying to ‘buy time’ and escape the experience and sensations, but in the end, the apparent ‘solution’ ends up contributing to the very problem one was seeking to solve.

Because we can only experience ourselves within ourselves, the assumption is made at a very young age that everybody feels the same. So, with an obsessive compulsive disorder, where the internal environment is in a state of shock, overwhelm, like a ‘ticking time bomb’, and one walks through the world like this, observing nobody else struggling with the same, one begins to believe that there is a very big problem with who and how one is.

At a young age, one does not have the vocabulary necessary to communicate one’s internal experience, and so as children we sit with it and when it becomes too much, we look for the most logical way out based on our very limited understanding – attack the body because the body feels like it is the problem, attack yourself as ‘Who You Are’ because your ‘self’ is bad/wrong/not working, and so ‘yourself’ is also ‘the problem’.

To be continued in the next blog…

The Labour of Self Birth

After having my eyes opened with regards to the Frankenstein creation I had become (found in my last blog ‘Un-Embracable Me’ https://dermatillomaniaforgiveness.com/2020/03/31/un-embracable-me/), I had to/have to go through somewhat of a death process, as that Frankenstein was a part of me I have been living as, and so deeply identify with. From here, where one does not actually die, one has to decide to either continue on the same path of self-diminishment, or to take a stand and become something new, something better.

Continue reading

Un-Embracable Me

I was recently challenged to find one word that I can work on to redefine and live for myself; a word which would be most supportive for me to assist myself to change in a moment of struggle.

The word I chose was EMBRACE, where I would instruct myself to in difficult moments, embrace me – all of me, as I am – and in that moment of what I perceived would be warmth comfort and the security in knowing ‘I got me’, I would find the strength within myself to Stop, and change.

Funny how reality rarely plays out to match our expectations.

The reality play-out of applying ‘self-embrace’ in moments was much different, and closer to feeling like a steel rain of pain and hurt was raining down on me, with a pit of aloneness and despair opening up beneath me.

This experience now ‘bombarding me’ at my weakest points, when I needed self-support the most, felt instead like I was being punished and shot down, adding insult to injury – as if anything ‘good’ of me; my strength, my integrity, my ability to support myself, or any SELF I had, was ripped away and replaced with desolation, aloneness, abandonment, despair, remorse, hurt and pain.

Ouch.

I finally realized that I had so far been living the word EMBRACE conditionally – with condition that it requires another, outside of myself, to embrace me, or give me the feeling of ‘being embraced’ through their actions and words.

The pain, hurt, diminishment, despair, remorse, desolation, aloneness and loneliness I was experiencing felt as though I was diminished to nothing, incapable of embracing myself, because there was scarcely a Self there to embrace, or be embraced.

I looked at why I felt so diminished within my living of this word, and realized that I had in fact  been diminishing myself this entire time, abandoning myself, neglecting my myself, punishing and disregarding myself over a lifetime in an attempt to appease others so that THEY would embrace me, accept me, love me, comfort me, heal me etc… – trying and attempting to become whatever I needed to be to become ’embrace-able’.

Without the understanding that no one can actually do this FOR me, throughout my life I could not understand why I couldn’t settle this one point of embrace, and would pick myself apart piece by piece, looking for the part that is so unacceptable, unlovable and un-embracable, without knowing that piece-by-piece, I had been diminishing and destroying myself. And on top of that, I had been ‘putting myself back together’ in ways that I thought I needed to be in order to be embraced ‘As I am’ (which was not Who I Am at all).

That ‘As I am’ was actually like a Frankenstein monster born from  lack of self-acceptance, lack of self-love, full of self-judgment impulsing self-hate and living the words: I, as I am, am not acceptable, not good enough, unworthy, not loveable, and so: un-embraceable – thinking and believing I just needed to perfect my Frankenstein creation in order to somehow ‘get there’.

Because of this truth of me, when the time came where I actually looked to embrace mySELF alone, I had to face the reality of what I had become and what I had done to myself, and it was a very sad reality indeed.

And there was no way to stop it, to push it down and suppress it, because in deciding to live the word EMBRACE I had made an agreement with myself, even if unknowingly, to SEE myself in this way for the first time. To let go of holding it together and holding on to the Frankenstein I had defined myself as and become in the belief that ‘this’ was the acceptable version of me I must be and present to the world, and to instead see the reality of me. And it hurt. A lot.

And all I could do was to feel it. Feel the hurt, and breathe. It lasted for hours on the first night, where I ended up writing till the wee hours of the morning.

The second time it was shorter, with the solution emerging of where and how I can substantiate myself in my Life as Who I Really Am and what I actually want to create myself as for me, and not for the acceptance, love, approval and ’embrace’ of others.

After that it was then triggered in moments during my days. Moments where I would be feeling left out or not considered, reminding me of a lifetime of self-neglect, showing me that I am not actually applying my solution of myself in substantial ways, and that I am still modifying myself in small ways that are not Who I Am as a habitual pattern of living that needs to be stopped and changed.

Where I move from Here is to embrace myself despite the pain. I embrace myself exactly as I am and have accepted and allowed myself to become. I FEEL the pain, I sit in it and I breathe it into myself, using it as a reference, a lesson of consequence of what I will and will not accept and allow within and as myself from this new vantage point of seeing, realizing and understanding what my thoughts, words and deeds actually manifest as my living reality, and that of those around me.

PS: Please have a read of my friend’s post regarding her similar experience with the word ‘beautiful’. She is the very same lady that challenged me to find a support word to live, and we unknowingly wrote similar blogs mentioning eachother: https://sunettespies.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/a-beautiful-mess-she-drew/

Also, my update with my process of self-embrace, which opened up a self-birthing which has been like seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel”, even if it will require some ‘labour’ to get there: https://dermatillomaniaforgiveness.com/2020/04/02/the-labour-of-self-birth/

Please have a listen: https://youtu.be/bDDD2v-mR18

Working on OCD by Working with My Dog

Ghost upside down

My dog is a husky, and a hunter. In fact, he was given away from his last home due to him being a threat to the cats that lived there. I have been working with him to correct this behaviour through moment-to-moment application when the programming is triggered, on walks and when he is loose in the yard, for example. I understand that this hunting programming is deeply embedded in his genetic coding, and there only be so much I can do, but so too is my OCD inherited through my genes and is in my DNA.

Throughout the months of working with him, I have noticed so many similarities with how I have been working with myself with OCD. I have to become very vigilant and observe him and his body language so that I can tell when he is triggered, see what his triggers are, and notice when he is in full-fledged hunting mode. I use my sound and some physical intervention to snap him out of it, to support him through it, and to redirect him.

Interestingly, this is the same application that applies to me in my own self-support, where I have to watch out for a learn my own triggers, observe my internal reactions and changes, and then snap myself out of it, support myself through it and/or redirect myself.

One cool thing about working with myself through animals has been practicing and playing with my sound, my voice and accordingly who I am within myself when I speak, act and direct myself, the animals, and myself with the animals.  To illustrate, I have shared my experiences here:

Becoming the Alpha Female

The Quantum Moment Before the Death of A Chicken

Horses of No Value?

Animal Experiences with Kim and Leila

I have noticed that when I speak to the animals, so much of who I am within myself comes through and can be revealed and reflected in the animal’s behaviour. In my current position in life, I deal with animals daily, namely dogs and horses. It has been over a year now in this environment, and I have done much work on taking a stand, being clear, working through my uncertainties and being able to speak and sound my words in such a way that is different than it has been in the past.

In the past, my insecurities, my uncertainty, my inferiority and so much more, would be the predominant factors coming through as my Who I Am’ in my voice, my words and my sound. There is an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ involved in the learning process, as one plays around with different words, tones and volumes, but with animals (and small children), you can only get away with so much. Mostly they will hear these characteristics even more so than what you are actually trying to say! I have had instances of speaking or yelling loudly, only to be completely ignored and brushed aside! This would cause me to react in frustration, irritation and disempowerment, showing me that I still had work to do on myself with regards to the aforementioned characteristics I was living and bringing through as me as I spoke.

This is not to say that I have perfected my sound/speaking/voice, not at all! It is definitely a work in progress, and I work on it every day, especially as I walk my dog. This relates to OCD/derma very much though, because as I develop and transform these weaknesses (uncertainty, insecurity, inferiority) into strengths (certainty, confidence, equality), in order to work with the animals, I have found that I naturally turn into and towards myself now, and work with myself more effectively because of it! For example, when I get triggered, I muster up the same assertiveness I have to muster up with my dog when he is triggered into hunting, or the horses when they fight and bicker with each other. To me, it is very motivating, because I do not want my dog to catch and kill the chickens or other small animals on the farm, and with the horses, I do not want them to get hurt, or hurt me when they begin rearing and kicking, so the situations can become quite serious.

It is this seriousness that I am now able to see and recognize with my disorder. Before, I would not see it as such a ‘bad’ thing, because I wasn’t harming anyone but myself. But from that perspective, I am making the statement that it is ‘ok’ to harm myself. The reality and truth of me that is/was hiding behind that statement is that I hadn’t valued myself, cherished myself or honoured myself in such a way where self-harm would just naturally be a serious matter that must be stopped.

In the end, the qualities that I saw were important to develop when working with my dog and other animals assisted and supported me to be able to stand up within and as my SELF! Where, when I would be/am triggered, I immediately go into the certainty of who and how I want to be in that moment, the confidence that I am worth it, the equality of being equal to and not inferior to my disorder – equality meaning, the disorder that I have does not rule and direct my life, I have a say, I decide, and as I continue to strengthen my resolve, I decide whether or not there is a place for it in my life, and it’s looking more and more like my decision is NO.

 

 

Self-Harm: Identifying the Source and Moving Through the Urge

light bulb

What does it feel like?

There is an internal experience that I live with that I get both before and after self-harming. It is as if this experience drives me to self-harm, and then is also triggered because I have self-harmed. It feels like a pressure, a desperation, a searing burning in my solar plexus, where I am so angry with myself for what I have done, so remorseful, frustrated, yet also helpless and victimized, and it leaves me in a state that simply continues the cycle of self-harm.

What effect does it have on behaviour?

This pressure, with the searing, crawling feeling seems so big, like it will take me over or destroy me somehow. I can feel it physically, and I want to get it out of my body by scratching, squeezing, picking, tearing and digging it out. It is confusing because the thing seems so big, terrifying and unbearable on the inside. On the outside, I see regular life going by, but it is like a blur that I am completely disconnected from, as if I had lost access to it. Then I look inside and it is like a pit of torment, like the world is coming to an end.

Where did it come from?

I wonder, how did I go from a child that would never think such things about myself, to this internal disgust and loathing, feeling like I need to be punished, or harm myself to get it out?

When I look back I can see and associate several memories that carry the same ‘feel’ to them. Being bullied, reprimanded in front of the classroom by a frustrated teacher, basically, the times where I would be on the receiving end of emotional outbursts from others, with emotions that I did not express externally and so did not understand.

I remember feeling completely confused as to why this was being ‘done unto me’, taking it all very personally. I felt as if I had no cover or protection from the pain it would cause, and eventually I felt somehow that I deserved it.

After having experienced this quite regularly, as happens in school, I began to fear it. It was as if I never knew what might set it off, as I was not intentionally being ‘bad’ or misbehaving. It was like lying in wait for ambush at all times. This became my protection, the cover of constant fear and hiding, withdrawing within myself and internalizing the emotional pain, while on the outside, I was stoic.This often led to triggering people even more as they thought they were not getting through to me (as it was explained to me once when I was later found hiding and crying).

I also mostly hid from adults in my world. I became distrustful and did not want to let my guards down when I was begin treated nicely, because I knew at any moment it could turn. My internal reality became a lonely and isolated place. And with the internalization of all the emotions, I began to reprimand and attack myself in my thoughts and internal conversations.

How to define it?

I began to believe it all as if it were all my fault. I was worthless, despicable, unbearably intolerable, no good, unable, disgusting and so on. And so it became a cycle of talking to myself in these ways, and creating an unmanageable and unbearable internal reality that I did not know how to cope with, and it began to manifest physically. I remember self-harm OCD starting when I was about 6-7 years old. I caused myself pain and it felt good after, like a relief and release for me – a way to release the internalized emotions.

What is it today?

Fast forward to today, and although I have found many ways to cope and get by, the main patterns and thought processes are still there at the foundation of my self-relationship. What it feels like is tip-toeing throughout the day, but any time I am required to check with myself and look inwards, I am met with this wall of pressure, searing fear and self-damnation.

I can see how I connect this fear to a multitude of situations throughout my day.

What will happen is, as I move throughout my day, there will inevitably be moments of challenge, uncertainty, not knowing, and moments that require decision, self-introspection or looking inward. But instead of looking inward and finding a nice, quite open space within myself to play with ideas, I am confronted by what seems like the fiery pits of hell.

It is like trying to find solutions while being under attack.

For example, if I am writing and I don’t know how to express what I am physically experiencing within myself, I will look inward and be met with this unbearable searing wall that prevents me from seeing, from finding the words or from understanding what is going on. In these moments, OCD is triggered, and I look for relief through self-harm.

How to Manage?

Self-harm seemed to be my only solution, because I thought that I should not go towards, move into or through something that feels so bad. But throughout the process I have been walking, I have been challenging this. I have during my process, moved through that wall many times, and as unbearable and endless as it has felt, I have always come out on the other side empowered.

What I have found is that on the other side of that wall is forward motion, continuation and self-direction. It is normal to, throughout the day while doing tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or while working, find oneself in a position where some problem-solving is necessary. There are always times when it is not easy and I don’t know exactly what to do. These are the moments where I will often hit the wall and go into OCD.

OCD is like a bottomless pit where you go in thinking you will find the bottom, some ground to stand on to get your footing, to find a safe place in the ambush, but instead you just keep falling. However, there is comfort there, because it is a distraction, a focused-attention elsewhere. There is the illusion of control. There is the aftermath of pain found there as well, that is endorphins that can be used like a drug to feel good, if only for a moment. It is a momentary, absolute lostness.

But what I have realized in pushing myself so many times, is that I do in fact have the creativity to find my way. I just, at the moment, have to find it within or beyond this searing self-hatred, anger, frustration and remorse that sits there in wait. It is like a trap, where many of my answers hide inside, or just on the other side of this emotional wall. And each time I have to pass this wall it fools me into believing it is all real and true, unless I stand up from within it. Stand up and be the authority from within this experience.

How to stand up from within it?

The take-away here is that when and as I see OCD is being triggered, it is because I am being confronted by something that requires me to find a solution and act on it. I challenge myself to, in these moments, take a moment and make a space for me to define in words what it is I am looking at. To actually have a look at what it is I am telling myself. I know I have the creativity to find a solution and a way forward in any situation, it is just a matter of weathering the storm that I know will be there. It is no longer an ambush, it is now simply a process of repetition until I prove to myself that I can stand through it.

 

Resources:

Introduction to Self Bullying and Self-Hatred

Interview Request – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Part 1)

Interview Request – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Part 2)

Who Are You When Challenged – The Future of Awareness – Part 91

 

How I Create Peace In My Life

peace tree.jpg

The moment I found out that I had limited myself to a definition of ‘peace’ in my life that involved running away, escape, and complete removal from my daily environment, was    the moment I was asked to really have a look at it. I would like to experience more peace in my daily life, but I have never really taken a step in awareness to actually create it.

After involving myself in a process of self-change about 10 years ago, I have taken many steps in awareness to create things in my life, resulting in a life and experience that is tremendously different from the path I was on back then. In this blog, I want to share an example of how this kind of life creation works for me, how it starts so small and so simply, and how it can seem so insignificant at first, but with a little attention and nourishment, can grow into a real and substantiated way of living.

In this case I was having a look at the word ‘peace’. The action of looking is always the first step for me in the journey of my own self-creation. I immediately saw that I had been living the word ‘peace’ as something that can be attained mostly when I am away, ideally on vacation at a tropical destination with a beach, the ocean, and being faaaar away from work, bills, stress, home and all of daily life.

The first thing I did when I decided to look at this word was to apply a little honesty: this way of living ‘peace’ is unrealistic because I can’t afford to do it regularly, and I simply can’t spend all my time avoiding my real-life reality situation. Also, this would mean that to experience ‘peace’ I would need to spend money, “extra” money I don’t always have, and when I do, I usually end up stressing about it later.

And now a little more self-honestly: ‘Peace’ defined in this way is more like escape. It is a temporary hiding from myself. Even when I do go on vacation I still feel anxieties come up, I still worry, I still judge myself and, for example, my body… I still face concerns and uncertainties the same as I do when I am home. And when I get back, it usually takes less then a week for me to move back into the things I was trying to escape in the first place, because the reality is that I cannot escape from myself, and I cannot escape my own mind.

Is it enjoyable to escape on vacation? Yes! Without a doubt! But is it real? No, unfortunately it is not real peace.

So how do I define real peace? I define it as something substantial that I can integrate into my life at any time, no matter where I am. I define it as peace in mind, being and body, where I understand and am confident about who and what I am in that moment, even if I am not perfect and even if I have made mistakes, I can be at peace with myself and where I’m at.

Now I ask questions: How do I live this? What is the first baby step I can take where I plant seeds of peace within me that I can nourish and grow to develop over time? This is what I did:

I took a look at these questions while I was at work. I brought them up within myself I moments that were the opposite of peaceful – emotional moments of stress, rush, anxiety, pressure and distress- and I had a look at how to create peace in those moments. What I found was if I take a moment for myself to bring the emotion up (instead of pushing it down and moving on with my day), that I would feel it all throughout my body. Yes, it would be uncomfortable to immerse myself into emotional experiences of stress, worry, anxiety, pressure and distress, but I saw I could stabilize myself within that discomfort, and have a look around at what was creating it, and then ask my questions about how I can create peace in these moments.

I saw that in order to create peace, once I identified what was creating the inner turmoil, I would have a look at myself, as a person, and see all the steps I had already taken to support myself within and through turmoil in the past.  This helps me to see that I am not so lost and alone as I sometimes feel in moments. I have really stepped up over the past ten years to be there for me, and how rarely do I give myself credit for this process I have walked to support myself? Well, now is the perfect moment to do so. This helps to set the platform for peace, as I really feel that I am here for myself no matter what, and I can depend on me.

The next thing I did was to look at what steps can I take to resolve the current situation. What am I resisting, avoiding or hesitating on? Do I need to make a decision, do I need to take a step? Do I need to re-align my focus? Do I need to take 10 minutes to just go breathe? Maybe I need to do some self-forgiveness, or maybe I need to write something down instead of relying on myself to remember it. All of these have come up for me as solutions at different times, in moments of inner emotional turmoil.

The action of taking the experience into me entirely, looking at it, and scripting a solution for myself, I saw creates a little peace within me. Once I have taken steps to actually walk the solution, I feel even more at peace. At the end of the day, when I take a look back at how I lived that day, at how I stood up with, as and for myself, how I walked a different path than I would have had I continued on with or suppressed the inner turmoil, I can breathe and live that peace that ‘I got this’. This is just my start, it will be a process because some days I do not live my best potential, and so I understand from here it will take time. I am at peace with that.

I can see that over the past ten years I have proven to myself that I am here for me. I have little by little created a self that can take this process of redefining and living words for example, and implement it over time and watch it actually take root and grow in my life. I can see that I can create myself, develop and expand myself in ways that are beneficial to me. I can see that the tools and principles of self-forgiveness and self-honesty along with self-change I use have had a huge impact in my life because when I first heard of them, I could see the common sense and self-empowerment, but when I actually asserted myself to apply the information, I saw real change.

Anyone can do this, but it is not a quick fix. It is a way of life where the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years put in to it – time that would be passing anyways – are all moments of opportunity to turn self around and direct self into a way that is really how life should be lived. Where I (self) decide who and how I am in any given moment. I choose the direction, I am at the reigns and steer my ship through the stress, the anxiety, the breakdowns and the build ups, the highs and the lows. I parent myself. I soothe myself. I give myself peace that is real. I find stability.

 

Carrying an Emotional Burden as Atonement

emotional burden as atonement

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a certain feeling or emotion for seemingly no reason at all? With a mental disorder, every day is like a challenge, and oftentimes upon waking up, coming into the realization that the beginning of another day is like preparing for another battle. Sometimes I wake up feeling like it’s not going to be a good day, that I will lose the battle this day, and I will experience the consequences of that loss. I have only recently begun to ask myself how much of this is self-created, how much of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

In this blog I will look at how defining this morning experience in words, tracing back the source of how I created the experience, and then creating new more supportive words to live instead has changed the way I live out my days and determines so much of who and how I am within them. This application was created by Sunette Spies, who you can watch HERE for a deeper understanding of many aspects of what we live and experience within ourselves and our minds. In this blog, I will describe my own personal experience with this application.

I woke up one morning with an underlying emotional experience of frustration and agitation. It’s interesting, because there was no apparent reason for it. I was on vacation from work so the usual stresses and rush are far from my conscious awareness. What I realized is that we as humans are so programmable that we can condition ourselves into certain experiences, wherein our bodies can carry within them energetic charges that can influence who and how we are throughout the day.

What I ask myself is: where within this is my choice? Where is my decision-making ability where I decide who and how I am and experience myself throughout the day, and what I accomplish and whether or not I stand or fall? What I understand is that we do in fact have a choice, and we can in fact be the decision makers in our realities simply because we are here, living in our bodies, making those decisions and choices every day.

What we end up doing a lot of the time though, is succumbing to these un-named and un-identified emotional experiences we just seemingly feel as if it were all of who and how we are. But what if this experience is changeable? What if we have simply programmed ourselves to feel this way over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to follow through on the feeling? The unavoidable fact is that it took time to do this programming, so it will also take time to undo it. The realization is that it just takes a patience, practice and application.

Over time, we accept an allow our minds to run rampant, thinking all sorts of thoughts that are rarely directly connected to actual reality, however these thoughts do have an influence on how we feel about ourselves and our participation in life. When I woke up with frustration and agitation I had a look at how I had, over time, actually grown used to this underlying experience within me. Upon looking a little deeper I realized that, not only had I become used to it, but I had also been using it as a weight to carry around as my burden, a burden I carried around as if I deserved it, and as if it were some kind of atonement for past bad behaviour and bad decisions or choices.

I realized that, due to not having directed my experience with OCD my whole life, and having instead constantly and continuously submitted to it, I had an awareness on a deep level that I was harming myself in every way possible and on so many levels. Common sense would dictate a change in self and living is necessary, but how rarely do we look at and listen to common sense? What I had instead been doing was carrying around frustration, agitation, and even guilt, anger and regret, mostly due to self-judgment,  as my emotional burdens in a way to atone for the sins I had committed against myself.

It is as if we look to burden ourselves to make up for the harm we do and have done to ourselves and others. This religion of the self where self-flagellation takes on the form of self-criticism, self-sabotage, self-judgement and the carrying of emotional burdens. What is not realized here is that two wrongs don’t make a right. All we are doing is making it more difficult to self-correct. That the best and only way we can atone for our sins (real or imagined), is to invest into ourselves and our process of self-forgiveness and self-change.

This is where we come to the concept of self-forgiveness. Although I don’t associate self-forgiveness with religion, I am aware that Christ taught of forgiveness, and despite many manipulations and harms caused by religion, forgiveness is a concept of immense value that stands and can be taken and applied in one’s own life. This can be done in a way where the forgiveness is like a gift to ourselves, regardless of whether or not we judge ourselves as worthy or deserving. If you take away the judgment and view all life as equal – equally deserving, equally valuable, equally worth the opportunity for a chance to make it right – then the concept of self-forgiveness is one that atones for any sin, so long as it is accompanied by self-understanding and self-change, because it allows us to let go of the burdens we carry (much like forgiving someone in your life can have the same effect).

I realized that I had been carrying around an emotional burden that actually caused me to be and live less than my utmost potential throughout the day, the week, the month, the year, my life. If I choose to accept and allow this experience to be the deciding factor of who and how I am throughout the day, then what I am that day is someone that is impatient, someone that explodes in frustration and irritation at others due to nothing they themselves have actually done wrong, but due only to my own impressions, judgments and perceptions of their behaviour and actions. But the truth is, I am only looking at and projecting myself, and all that have done unto myself onto others, and reacting towards that mirror instead of forgiving myself and changing.

Conversely, I have also been on the receiving end of such treatment and outbursts, whether at work, with family or in my relationships, and I must say, it does create a lesser experience of what is possible. When the experience is not checked, it creates sub-par relationships and interactions between human beings. It creates hell for some, depending on the situation and context, where the hell is created for both the giver and the receiver of the outburst reaction. Where depth of communication and intimacy is possible, only protection and defence is expressed and lived. This is the type of day I was setting up for myself if I had just let myself go with that flow.

When I woke up with this particular experience, I decided to step up, to be instead the decision-maker in my life, to check myself and really have a good hard look at who I would be and how I would behave if I were to submit and succumb to the emotional energy of frustration and agitation I carried within myself the moment my eyes open in the morning. What I saw, when checking myself in awareness, was that there are so many other possibilities that I could live instead throughout the day, the week, the year, my life.

The word I chose to support myself with in this instance was ‘Release’, wherein I give myself a re-lease on how I am living, like a new lease on life, one where self-responsibility is taken, things are faced and forgiven, I move me, and I do not punish me and hold charges against myself. I instead live Real Ease, as I ease myself into my day. Release, let go, move on.

There is the path of following the reaction or emotional experience, and treating myself and others in a way where I use that interaction as my outlet to indulge in the frustration and agitation, letting it explode in an apparent release of tension, where I end up not only diminishing myself and making myself less than I am capable of, but also diminishing anyone else that I react towards, causing and creating reactions in them instead of assisting and supporting them to create and maintain stability and balance in their lives as well. But there is also the path less-traveled, the one where I decide – in this case- to instead release myself of this burden and this weight by taking self-responsibility for it, and go about my day with a clean slate, bringing the best of me forward to live and experience with myself and others.

What I saw is that we all have the choice every day; The choice to correct ourselves, to check ourselves, to step up and forgive ourselves in order to understand and release our energetic build-ups in our own time, on our own watch, how it should be done, in self-responsibility – not exploding at ourselves or others due to all the build up.

It’s not being tough or strong to become emotional, angry, frustrated… it’s actually the weaker alternative. Real strength is defined in our ability to take responsibility for ourselves and everything we are and have become. To really stand as that example of what is possible for humanity. That is how we create a better world, through simple participation in our reality, that little slice of it within which we have an influence. It’s how we teach our children and show our peers what we are capable of, and each and every one is in fact capable of it. And that is how we show ourselves what we can be.

This is a daily practice that is necessary in all of our battles. I have OCD and that is the hand I was dealt, that is what I must step up to and overcome and manage for myself. So every day, upon waking up, I take a good hard look at what I’m feeling and what that will create. I take that moment to define it in words, to self-forgive, and to create new more supportive words to live instead.

In this, I am actually creating living words – a living vocabulary- which over time can be used to live and apply in many different situations, not just for that day. And what also happens over time is that the words can be used in conjunction with each other, to compliment each other. As each word is lived it becomes stronger, and I define myself more and more within these words, instead of defining myself within and as feelings and words that I had programmed over time to be filled with hidden friction, anxieties, stresses and frustration among other things. There is another way.