Ayshah | Victoria

Living my Passion | Living with Purpose | Living in Peace


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Who The **** Are “THEY”?

The other day I was listening to a lovely lady in her late twenties who was in an animated, high-pitched frenzy over an episode in her life. She was extremely conflicted about how certain people were reacting to her decision to make a huge career change.

Before she could launch into her next angst-ridden tirade about what “they” think about this and what if “they” saw that, I asked her – “Who the **** are “they”?

She paused and blinked at me several times. I wasn’t sure if it was because the question surprised her or because I used a four-letter word.

“Weeell….? “ I prompted

Her forehead creased (no botox here…) as she pondered the question.

Before she could continue, I told her that it really didn’t matter who “they” were. And more significantly, what “they” think about her.  Of course, to properly comprehend that this did not mean she would have to disregard the opinions and preferences of those she cared about, I had to explain the difference between the opinions that truly mattered and those that really didn’t. It turned out that there were far too many opinions that she was concerned with and it was impeding on her ability to successfully attain her goal.  (Her Best Is Good Enough – but she doesn’t know it – yet.)

We like to think that we are in full control of our lives, the decisions we make and the direction we go. The truth is that  we are a lot more affected by public opinion than we would readily admit. What “they” think matters – much more than it should and there are many who feel they have to base every single decision on what “they” think.

This  can happen to anyone who is part of a community, a group, an organization or any social structure. The trick is to recognize the effect of the external influence WHILE  it is happening and counteract* any adverse effects it may have on your decision-making. To do this, you must first identify the source of the influence.

The Good Ones
Many of our friends, family and associates may share their opinions about our lives because they care and because they want what is best for us. It’s natural. But sometimes, we allow their opinions – and as I like to put it, their “preferences” for our lives to confuse our decision-making.  We shift from thinking “this is what I want to do” to “this is what I should do” or “this is what X would like me to do”.  It then becomes difficult to know where to place the emphasis in our thought-process..

For this, I offer one simple solution; listen to their opinions because you care about them and/or because you respect them. Listening does not mean agreeing. It is a foolish person who chooses not to listen to opinions or advice from people they respect, love or admire. However it is up to you to act on their advice. You can choose to do what you feel is best for you – at this precise point in your life. The consequences, good or bad are entirely yours!

The Bad Ones (aka “Haters”)
Any relatively successful person will tell you that you do not achieve your goals – especially the loftier ones, without your share of land mines. Of course there are the natural challenges that will occur along the path to success since nothing worth achieving comes  easily.  But when it comes to people around us, these land mines can come in the form of discouraging remarks designed to put you off your goal. They come from the kind of people who would experience a secret moment of glee if you fail to achieve what you are setting out to do.

They usually fit into one of these 2 categories:

  1. People you know who have already achieved what you are trying to achieve  – but would prefer it if you don’t (the not-enough-space-at-the-top syndrome)
  2. People who do not have the ability, strength or perseverance to achieve what you are trying to achieve and don’t want you to succeed as they feel it would amplify their own inabilities. Unfortunately this thought-process comes from their own self-doubt and insecurities and instead of choosing to rid themselves of such negative feeling, they prefer to infect others with it.

Harsh – but you know it’s true. Now many people in the two categories above tend to keep their negative feelings to themselves and if they are people within your circles,  they will appear supportive outwardly – but will make little comments here and there to dissuade you privately. Some may even speak unkindly about you to others – and if you are aware of this, I challenge you to drop them completely from your schedule (aka life). What’s the point in having a relationship with those who wish you harm?  Of course this method of cleansing and revitalization is not for everyone –  only those that can handle it*.

So who indeed are “THEY”?  They are a combination of the above.  By now you already know who they are – in your world.  Before you go out on a rampage, remember that these people are in your life for a reason. You alone choose how important you allow their voice to be in your head.

You  have to live your life knowing that there will always be others who do not want you to succeed and discourage you at every turn. There will also always be those that take steps to make things difficult for you. HOWEVER the sooner they know that  you do not base your decisions on their opinions,  the good ones will back down.  The bad ones – THEY  will find another person to plague with self-doubt. But certainly not you!

*For more about (A) counteracting the negative effects of opinions that have been shared with you or  (B) for cleansing and revitalizing your circles, ask me!

lions
Follow me on twitter: @StrategicPowers


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Emotional Healing

Not too long ago, I had to endure a very deep emotional wound that took some time to heal and it caused me to reflect on why it took so long to heal. I thought I was over the hurt. I had processed the situation and wanted to move on without feeling the pain – but I couldn’t. It got me thinking about the different types of emotional wounds we suffer throughout our lives and in the process, I discovered a correlation that shed light on why this emotional wound was different.

 

Emotional vs. Physical Wound

An emotional wound is much like a physical wound in that the severity of the wound dictates the length of the healing process as well as the method of healing. For example, if I received a paper cut, it would sting for a bit but shortly thereafter, I would have forgotten all about it after the very basic of treatments. If I sprained my ankle, it may take a little longer for me to be able to walk on it with comfort – depending on how well I stick to the treatment process that is specific to that injury. If however I were in a fire incident and had all the skin on my right thigh burnt off, it would take even longer to heal. I would have to follow the specific instructions given to me by my doctor to ensure the healing process takes place and hope to have minimal scarring.

I would imagine that this last incident would be harder to forget than the paper cut. The PHYSICAL presence of the scarring will be a continuous reminder any time I touched my thigh or looked in the mirror. I may have recovered physically from the fire incident – my life may be back to normal but there will always be that reminder even though the discomfort of it manages to fade with time.

If I had a burn scar that does not feel like the rest of the skin on my thigh, I may be more protective over anything that comes close to it. It may be more sensitive than the skin on other part of my body and I may not like to have it exposed to heat of any sort as I may believe (right or wrong) that it would make it vulnerable to the temperature. These are expected responses because they are tangible.

However if we present the same hypothesis using emotional injury – it can become more difficult to address – so indulge me for a moment. Let’s say that one day, I was teased in the playground as a little a five year old child. I went home crying to my mother who reassured me that those mean older kids were just harmlessly teasing me and that my hairstyle didn’t really look like “lots of pigtails”. I may be hurt for a while but as I grow and flourish (as children do) I learn the insignificance of the incident. The memory (wound) may remain but it causes no discomfort.

On the other hand, imagine I was to find out that my 5 month old puppy was hit by a car and killed after running into traffic – it would certainly be a devastatingly painful experience – especially if it was the first time I had my very own puppy. I may not want to have a pet for a while after that incident since the memory (wound) of the (emotional) pain would still be raw. But eventually, as with a physical scar, the pain or sensitivity of the emotional wound becomes less urgent and blurs into the background of our mind.

It takes time for this to happen because both our physical body and our emotional make up must regenerate new physical and emotional components in order to keep growing, developing and in essence, living.

Deep Wound

Imagine that I suffered the deep wound of betrayal and abuse as a teenager in such a way that it took many years to heal that emotional wound (the memory of the event and the pain it caused), the emotional scar would be pretty deep.  I liken this emotional scar to the burn scars in the physical example earlier or more aptly (in my mind) to the pain and discomfort felt after having major surgery that leaves you with a large ugly scar to remind you of where you were cut open and sewn back together. After this surgery, you may feel glad that it’s over and want to get on with your regular life but the wound will not let you. The wound HAS TO take the time to heal. The stitches HAVE TO be removed, the wound HAS TO be treated, the pain HAS TO be soothed. It takes time. A long time. And there is no choice.

Suppose then that some years after that surgery, (you know, the one with the large scar, where the skin is still numb and sensitive to the touch) you have a car accident that has some piece of metal rip right through that same spot – right through the scar, how do you suppose that may feel? What do you suppose the healing process would be like? How do you suppose you would feel following this healing process?

And how would that translate for an emotional wound of that magnitude? For me, when I actually experienced an emotional would of this magnitude, the time that it took to heal seemed even longer than the first time. But it really wasn’t. We may find that it  only seems that way because we do not want to have to go through it all over again. We want to get to the good part – the  “I am okay again” part.

A More Recent Wound

That is what happened to me that caused me to write this article. I had both the extreme physical AND emotional wounding at the same time. At a time like this – it helps to know who God is in your life.

However, what started me writing this was a revelation I had regarding this new emotional would which  I received at the location of an older emotional scar that I believed had healed.  So when this new wound dug deep into the scarred location, I experienced the shock of it and since it was familiar, I thought I should be able to brush it off. I thought  the wound would heal quickly and I would be able to get on with things as if it had never existed.

But I was wrong. That’s not the case. Not at all. It STILL takes time to heal.  How annoying!

The difference is that this time round, I knew how to dress the (emotional) wound, I knew which ointment to put on it, I knew which vitamins helped heal it and I knew that I would survive it. But what I realised also was that I can’t just ignore its existence because it is familiar. I STILL have to treat it with the same healing balm. Whether I like it or not.

I also chose to learn from it, as with all experiences in life – especially the unexpected shocks to the system. It is of great importance to be able to remember what you have already survived in the past in order to move forward in life.

Remember…

Remember when you thought you could not make it through that last difficult time? Remember that you did. Remember HOW you did. And most of all, remember that we are human, with human feelings and human bodies and that if we treat ourselves well, we will be of better service to others.

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Originally written: 2010 All Rights Reserved © A.V.Powers

Follow me on twitter: @StrategicPowers


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Sailing Through Challenging Times

Yes, times are tough, etc. Yes this happened to this person and that happened to that person – and it’s not pleasant. You wonder how you can cope with all these changes. Well here are some helpful boosters to remind you how to harness a positive outlook especially when it seems impossible to do so.
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Here are 7 Actions To Enable You To Better Deal With Tomorrow’s Challenges
  1. Turn the TV off! Yes, OFF! Well… mainly the major news networks. You only need to catch the main news ONCE a day otherwise you will find yourself being subconsciously affected by the constant onslaught of bad news and the “latest economic downturn”. Remaining constantly plugged into the bad news has the same effect on your mind as attending funerals of people you know on a daily basis. It abuses your emotional system.
  2. ACCEPT situations that you can do nothing about right now and instead look to situations that you can do something about to effect a positive change.
  3. Avoid gathering that involve friends, relatives or colleagues where topics of conversation are anxiety-ridden, dreary, complaining sessions. These again are an abuse to your emotional system even though it may at first seem healthy to share how you feel. This only works if in the process of sharing you are assured of being provided with positive, encouraging feedback or support.
  4. Set goals that make you WANT TO achieve them. CELEBRATE each baby step taken. And keep going.
  5. Keep looking forward with a certainly of GOOD things to come. Wake up each morning and remind yourself that “Today is a brand new day and I feel GOOD about it”.
  6. Be conscious of what activities energize you and ensure you maintain a regular dose of such activities. This could be hiking, swimming, meditating or even sleeping (who knew).
  7. Build your external support system – this could be family, friends, colleagues or of course,  someone like me perhaps…

Originally written: 2009 All Rights Reserved © A.V.Powers

Follow me on twitter: @StrategicPowers