Judgment – ‘Cause I am Right

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Guilty as charged – a truer quote has never been spoken!
I’ve never really been the quiet kind. I’ve had a really hard time with being called judgmental and harsh, but would defiantly push my chin forward and argue that I am neither. So, I’ve spent large parts of my life worrying about hurting or angering others with my sharp tongue and the fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time made me even more of a hermit than I already was. After all, I always mean(t) well.

Judgment comes quite natural to me. I adhere to general codes of honesty, integrity, loyalty and decency and don’t understand why these lines are blurry for others. I perceive the world amplified, in a way that other people do not understand.
I don’t easily let go and have a strong compulsion to fight for anything and anyone who is weaker, in the minority or otherwise unable to defend themselves. Hence, I don’t like bullies, I don’t like moochers and those who take advantage of others. I don’t like superior types who think they are better/deserve better because of their status, race, religion, good looks, intellect or education and I can’t stand sense of entitlement. I don’t like liars, martyrs, self-centered jerks and behind-the-back-talkers.
And yes, I am a hypocrite, because I often speak in absolutes and yet, can’t stand those who state that all poor people are lazy, all immigrants are moochers, all Germans are Nazis, all Mexicans are lazy – you get the picture. My absolutes usually revolve around religions and parties. I have grown to strongly dislike Tea Baggers and religious splinter groups, who preach hate, intolerance and fear. I haven’t met anyone on these sides who were humanitarians and people one can look up to.

I am trying to put myself in the shoes of others; but I still fail miserably. I try to listen to any argument, no matter how strange it might be, as long as there is reason, logic and an open mind – preferably a kind heart, too.
A while ago I got into a huge argument with a friend, whose arguments against universal health care, better education and care for all were so angry and hateful that I was shocked. Yes, I grew up in Germany, a socialist country, but have always felt that my beliefs were not based on a political system, but on the fundamental thought that I had been so lucky and successful in my life that I gladly paid it forward and felt it was my duty to help those less fortunate. It takes coming from the ghetto to understand what it feels like to be there.

The arguments of supporting the lazy, helping drug addicts, the homeless and losers, who chose to be in their position, were coming from a devout Christian. Didn’t Jesus preach about helping the sick, poor and less fortunate? The anger about having to pay more (taxes, healthcare, etc.) overwrote any compassion. This conversation made me stop in my tracks.

I am so angry at the unjust judgments and assumptions that are being hurled around about those who are on welfare. I am appalled about the judgments thrown around about women who are getting an abortion, about illegal immigrants, LGBT individuals and Muslims. Yet, how often had I made an assumption about another because they did an asshole move like lying, cheating, talking behind another’s back, judging, belittling or being cowards, when I had engaged in some of these asshat moves myself? And how often had I concluded that all Jews would hate me, because I’m German and that all Christians had turned into Kool-Aid chugging nut jobs. I realized how judging in one area, leads to becoming a judgmental person in pretty much all other areas, too. I understood that every time I judged I was no different than those people, even when or if my motives were nobler or “just.” 

Judgment is a slippery slope. It starts with an assumption; usually the assumption that we have all the facts and know more than we do. It then goes down the path of elevating oneself above said behavior and therefore “judging” that we have the right to tell the other side what to do, hate them, fear them, dislike them, reject them or not support them. This is because we feel that our side is the right side! But judging also implies that we have walked in their shoes and most of the time we haven’t.

So when we suspend judgment, does that mean that there shouldn’t be universal values we are willing to defend? Of course not. But I do believe that the only answer to get ourselves out of this mess we are in, globally, is to start with some compassion and less complaining about your rights being taken away, especially when you are actually pretty lucky, pretty rich and definitely in the position to pay it forward and share.

When I look around and listen to what spews out of people’s mouths and hearts in the name of defending their rights and freedom of speech, I hang my head in shame. Alas, all I can do is do my best to catch myself when I engage in judgmental douche baggery and attempt to do my part to help make this world a better place.

  
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What Self-Love Means

I didn’t write this article, but couldn’t have said it better. I am also proud to report that I have learned this and do a pretty good job, most of the time (still struggle sometimes with not beating myself up over not being perfect on the exterior).

Here is the link and I’ve posted the whole article as well. Enjoy!

What Self-Love Means

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

Heart with Hands

“Self-love requires you to be honest about your current choices and thought patterns and undertake new practices that reflect self-worth.” ~Caroline Kirk

If one more person told me to go love myself I was going to levitate into the air and pull one of those impossible martial arts moves from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I was sick of it!

What the heck does loving myself mean? Were they talking about bubble baths, pedicures, and cucumber masks? It turns out there is so much more to self-love than just pampering ourselves. I found this out the hard way.

About a year and a half ago, I almost died after a bad break-up. I had devoted so much of my energy to making the relationship work that I had completely neglected my own needs, and had given away my power and my responsibility for happiness.

As I wrote about here, when I finally developed the courage to end an addictive and painful relationship, I had to live with the effects of lack of self-love.

I struggled to eat, sleep, or continue my daily functioning. I spent every waking hour to myself, trying to understand how and why I had gotten there. I had to know, because whatever it was, if I did not attend to it, this was going to be the end of the road for me. I knew it.

I made mixed media collages, journaled, watched The Notebook five more times, cried, and called up friends to keep me company while I ate my few bites each day.

During this whole time, I found places in my story where I was not present to my own life, my body or my spirit. I was just there. I found the places where I had abandoned myself and then gotten mad at the other person for not meeting my needs.

The truth was, I did not have a big enough inner container to hold the love I so desired even if I received it, because my self-love tank had shrunk down to the size of a bottle cap.

It finally became very clear to me that there was one core reason I had gotten there: I did not know anything about self-love.

This realization launched me into a relentless search for the meaning of self-love, internally and externally.

I found that self-love is a not a destination, it’s a practice. It is like brushing our teeth. Self-love is a foundation on which we build a happy life. Without self-love, we have nowhere to put the love or abundance that comes to us.

Not sure what it looks like to love yourself? Here is what I’ve learned. Self-love is…

1. Choosing ourselves, even if it means upsetting others and not being popular anymore. Even if it means we leave a party before anyone else because we feel tired, overwhelmed, or just plain feel done with the crowd.

2. Telling what is true for us, not swallowing words that express what we truly feel, think, or want to do.

3. Giving our body the nurturing, rest, exercise, and comfort it needs to the best of our ability.

4. Wearing clothes that make us feel good and fit our personality instead of wearing clothes that are in fashion that we use to impress others.

5. Building a life that we love while we are single instead of waiting for our prince/princess to show up to explore life and to be happy.

6. Accepting ourselves with the good, the bad, the ugly, the sexy, and the smelly—all of it—andappreciating ourselves as whole people.

7. Making time to do whatever we love, just to play, without worrying about wasting time.

8. Owning our inner and outer beauty and complimenting ourselves without feeling guilty, arrogant, or entitled.

9. Not rehashing our past mistakes and dragging ourselves to a dark place when we know that we can only learn from the past; we can’t change it.

10. Spending some quality, connected time with ourselves instead of always watching TV or wasting time on the Internet.

11. Using discretion when sharing our heart, self, and dreams with others.

12. Trusting the path that our soul is on and making a genuine effort to become a conscious co-creator of our destiny.

13. Not blaming our parents for our current issues, and looking for ways to heal our wounds and change our dysfunctional patterned behaviors by reaching out to ministers, therapists, coaches, and healers.

14. Following what our gut/intuition says instead of living out of our brain and ego.

15. Staying in our integrity, both when it comes to ourselves and when interacting with others out in the world. This includes keeping ourselves in check regarding patterns such as lying, manipulating, co-depending, withholding, and pretending.

16. Allowing ourselves to dream big, without contaminating these dreams with judgments, our perceived limitations, or a lack of sense of deserving.

17. Knowing how we’re spending our emotional, mental, financial, and physical energy, and whether these activities bring back joy, connection, nurturing, rest, and creativity to our lives.

18. Taking responsibility for all of our experiences. Knowing that we have the ability for deeper self-awareness and access to our intuition when it comes to making life choices.

19. Not labeling ourselves with others’ opinions of us, while having the courage to look inside to see if there might be some truth to them.

20. Learning to set boundaries that protect and nurture our relationships, with ourselves and others.

21. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes and not berating ourselves for making them. Instead, choosing to appreciate our desire to learn and grow.

22. Refusing to seek permission or approval to be ourselves. Recognizing that we, like everyone else, deserve to take up space on this planet just as who we are right now.

And lastly, self-love is:

23. Loving and accepting ourselves even when we fail miserably at some of these self-love goals.

No one else can offer these things to us. No one else can take our vitamins for us or prevent us from going into a self-loathing attack.

Even if we land the best partner on the planet, this person won’t be able to make us happy and feel loved unless we create the space for it inside by practicing self-love. This is why self-love is an inside job.

From my heart to your heart…

 

  
Posted in Break-the-Cycle Series, Spirituality/Philosophy, Things that Make Me Happy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fibromyalgia – This is what it means for me

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I woke up this morning like I wake up pretty much every morning – feeling as if a truck had run me over. My lower back, neck and shoulders were in agony, my muscles were stiff and I had a hammering headache. I reached into my nightstand, grabbed my Cymbalta, took it and then schlepped out of bed; hunched over  and walking like an old woman. I turned on the shower, started brushing my teeth and felt my elbow scream in agony at the light pressure I used to guide my toothbrush. I stepped in the shower and waited for the warm water to bring some kind of relief. Alas, all that happened was that my joints and muscles became fluid enough to move. I knew right then, today would be another one of those days where I needed to take some Advil to make the pain bearable enough to get to work. This is my life and this is what it feels like to have Fibromyalgia.

I was first diagnosed with FM back in 1994. I had been in the US for a mere year and a half. German doctors had treated my ongoing issues of muscle spasms, severe back pain, migraines, swelling joints, gastritis and hypersensitivity to light and other environmental influences with shots of muscle relaxers into my back, or shots of vitamin B. The visit with a rheumatologist over here was the first one I ever had. When he gave me his diagnosis, I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word; I felt he was full of it and had made up some kind of condition; you know, the kind they diagnose you with when they have no other explanation. The anti-depressants he prescribed I poured down the drain.

I went on to live my life and the symptoms would sometimes get better, sometimes worse. I had started to do martial arts and did a very heavy work out regime. But I injured myself, as seemed customary for me. I would bruise quickly and my bruises would take weeks to heal. I had lived with pain for so long that my pain tolerance had increased as well. Or maybe it didn’t increase, maybeI had just become great in ignoring it and working around it. This resulted in realizing that my left shoulder, which had become “frozen” and no longer worked at all, needed a MRI. I had tried at least 2 years of chiropractic, which, besides costing me thousands of dollars, hadn’t done a thing. Turns out, I had a torn rotator cuff and calcium build up around my bones. At 37 I had athroscopic shoulder surgery, which fixed this issue, but the “other stuff” remained.

But I am getting ahead of myself. By the time I reached my late 20s and early 30s I had additional, new “issues.” At this point I had forgotten about the FM diagnosis. I started having dizzy spells, tingling and numbness in my legs and itchy and burning skin. I also would lose my balance quite frequently. I was promptly tested for MS, which I didn’t have. Over the years, I had test after test after test, namely each time I would finally make it a point again to go to a doctor to have my various symptoms examined. I was tested for various cancers, Lupus, MS, lime disease, viral infections, adrenal fatigue and heart disease. I had blood tests, allergy tests, sleep tests, cardiovascular tests like stress and non-stress EKGs and was diagnosed with asthma. Who diagnosed me again with FM? My pulmonary disease doctor! He was the first one who looked at all of it and figured that these were all common symptoms for FM. He decided to do a trial with Cymbalta and within a week, I was almost pain free. The suffering was better, for the first time in a long time. In addition, I got a second opinion from “Best Doctors,” a service one of my companies offered, another year later. My entire medical history of almost 10 years was gathered, including all the tests and various diagnoses and a leading rheumatologist in the US confirmed the diagnosis. That was 2 years ago.

I have spent a lot of time within the past years on researching Fibromyalgia, its causes, treatments and management. I’ve changed my diet many times and found nothing made a difference. I am not allergic or sensitive to gluten, dairy or other foods. I do, however, find that increased sugar intake makes my symptoms worse. I’ve tried an all veggie and juicing diet, which had no effect on my FM. I’ve tried personal training. It was suggested that fitness would make a huge difference, but that was by people who didn’t know that my body is literally wired wrong and reacts the opposite of a normal body. Here is an excerpt from a study:

Pain levels started out much higher in the group of fibromyalgia patients (as expected). In addition, the spinal cord did not kick in to relieve post-exercise soreness in the shoulders. Worse yet, pain sensitivity increased significantly in the leg muscles that were relaxed throughout the study.

What does this mean? The system in the spinal cord that people rely upon to ease post-exercise discomfort seems to be responding to workouts by increasing the pain in fibro. So, if you are a fibro patient on your feet all day long, your activity can cause sore leg muscles and also make other muscles hurt, such as those in your arms.

Increasing physical function has to be done extraordinarily slow in fibromyalgia patients just to keep the pain levels stable. As your muscles get bigger and stronger, your body will be able to sustain more activity before the spinal cord decides to amplify your pain.

I didn’t know these things and the strenuous workouts with personal trainers that I subjected myself to for a couple of years made things worse. I never reached a point of feeling good. While my muscles got stronger, I only experienced severe vs. mild pain now. Once I turned 40, things got worse yet again. Workouts were so painful that I would sooner or later succumb and give up. I had tried any diet, any exercise program out there and nothing helped. Quite on the contrary, they seemed to make my symptoms worse. In addition, my eyes started going bad, which I first attributed to aging. They were so dry that they would burn and hurt. My optomaligist simply told me to get acupuncture, which I did. Another few thousand dollars for training and acupuncture, as well as different contact lenses didn’t do the trick either. I had no idea that the eye problems, as well as my supposed asthma are also part of FM!

So what did help? Well, after 3 years, Cymbalta is no longer working. I doubled my dose about 6 months ago and it’s not helping. Yoga on the other hand, DOES help a lot. However, the hard workout yoga, like heavy vinyasa flows cause pain. Handstands are impossible, but headstands work. Balance is still a bit of an issue, but yoga has strengthened my muscles and makes balancing easier. I struggle with weight gain – always – and I can’t do the exercises I’d need to do. Diets have no or minimal effect, including the extreme ones I did. I love hiking, because I love nature, but the max I can do right now are 3 or 4 miles, before my legs are in agony and my feet are on fire. I pay the price for at least 2 days after, but it is something I have to endure, so I can strengthen my muscles enough to lower my pain sensitivity.

I refer to FM as the devil disease. There is no cure, there are only ways to manage it and sometimes make it less of a hinderance to a normal life. I am always in pain; there isn’t a day when I am not. Mostly, it’s bearable, sometimes it is not and I’ll just take Advil throughout the day. The narcotics are not an option, as they are addictive and would render me useless. I have a hard time concentrating or remembering, which is known as “fibro-fog.” My eyes get so dry, my contacts fall out; my vision is blurry and my eyes burn a lot. I have a hard time seeing. My chest muscles get so tight, it feels as if I cannot breathe. Especially when I am stressed or do anything strenuous. I start coughing and gasp for air. My skin on my legs sometimes itches so bad that I scratch it raw; or it burns and then I put on cooling booties I have in the freezer. Migraines are my constant companion. My jaw is tight and I grind my teeth. My neck goes stiff and I can’t turn my head anymore. Sometimes, part of my leg goes completely numb. My elbows always hurt, especially when I wash my face or attempt to do vinyasa flows. So do my wrists. I struggle with acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, which I control with diet. I am tired and exhausted – A LOT. Without sleeping pills, which I have been on for the past 4 years, I would get no sleep at all. Luckily, I live in a warm climate, which makes things a little easier and being hyper sensitive to many things like light, smell, sound and substances, have kept me away from alcohol and drugs.

I have another rheumatologist appointment at the end of the month. I hope there are new drugs out there that take care of the pain better and don’t have a lot of the horrible side effects. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

  
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Facebook Sucks

FB sucks

 

 

 

 

Today, I was shaken to my core about something I had inadvertently seen on Facebook. As I was innocently scrolling down my “Newsfeed,” I stopped at one to read an outraged “let’s get these bastards” comment from my niece’s husband. As part of the ever increasing suck-factor of Facebook and the fact that videos are now starting to play without you pushing the “play” button, I watched in disbelief as a couple sadists poured gasoline over a tiny puppy, set it on fire and watched as it tried to run away, only to be dowsed again in lighter fluid. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t truly comprehend what I was watching until it was too late. I can never unsee this and felt like crying. I still feel sick. I still feel outraged. These images will stick with me for a long ass time.

I don’t know what kind of world I am living in. I can neither comprehend anyone torturing a living being, especially not a helpless baby, human or animal, and I cannot believe that anyone would post this shit either. Sure, you want to sometimes raise awareness, maybe even help solve a crime. In this case, however, the video was posted by a narcissistic asshat, who posted it for likes! The video itself was years old and the perpetrators had long been caught and punished. As is my detective and just nature, I reported the video and the sick bastard who posted it to FB. Of course, neither was removed. Apparently,  torturing an animal on live video to death does not violate FB’s community rules.

The thing is that I once signed up for Facebook, way back in 2008. I signed up because I hated MySpace and I wanted to keep in touch with people I will never see or hear from otherwise; I.e. My family in Germany, my old classmates from Germany, etc. Meanwhile, FB has turned itself and quite a few people who are using it, into monsters. Nothing is “holy” anymore. Everything is fair game in the name of sensationalism, likes and attention. No matter how horrific and scarring the content is, there is always one asshole who will share it under the guise of raising awareness. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Facebook, who has turned into a money grabbing whore, allowing any content in the name of the mighty dollar. The only time they will take action is if enough people rise up in horror and command them to remove the content.

I feel I am part of the problem, because I won’t delete my FB page. Having my entire friend base and family on there is the only reason. My hermit butt would never, ever be in contact with anyone and I would never hear how my best friends’ kids are doing, or what is happening in Germany with my family; like when my sister was in the hospital, which I only found out because my niece posted it on Facebook!

It makes me angry and sad. I want to boycott these douche canoes and yet, I am not. Sure, I get it. There is a bit of a narcissist in all of us. We want to “share” the great things we are doing and quite often, we feel strangely validated and accepted when we can post our successes or find others who “like” them. And no, I do not see it as narcissistic, when my friends post pictures of their vacations, promotion celebrations, new babies, weddings, etc. These are the reasons I am connected with them in the first place. Even the saddest parts and the pain they are sharing is something I can relate to and usually find honest and refreshing in its rawness and straight forwardness. But posting videos/pictures of executions, suicides or torture is a whole different ballgame that violates all rules of common decency. I have many friends who are advocates for suicide prevention, animal welfare, cancer prevention, human trafficking prevention and child welfare, just to name a few and they are doing fine getting the attention and donations they ask for without posting graphic content.

I wish I had an idea like Zuckerberg did. I wish I had the technical expertise to start and market my own social network, so I could keep these asshats of my site. But I guess having these morals would keep me from ever making a dollar, which is also quite sad. I wish all my friends and family were on Instagram or Twitter, so I could delete my Facebook page. Alas, all I can do is keep boycotting horrific content by reporting it and asking my friends to join me in the fight. Facebook sucks.

  
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Too Much Freedom – Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

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The more I see and hear, the more I want to disappear!
I feel a need to ponder human nature again, at least in the way it appears in our lovely society here. I cannot help to look around and wonder where common sense, decency and honesty with oneself disappear to, when I read some of the articles posted on the internet. Apparently, the more “freedom” people have, the more abusive and douchish become. Which brings me to one of my major beliefs in life: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!
I know that this is an extremely difficult concept to grasp; especially for the American culture, who was raised on “I deserve a trophy/a reward, the best job, the highest salary and title and much, much more, simply because I am breathing. Things will be delivered on a silver platter and if the proverbial sh** hits the fan, it wasn’t my fault. Someone else is to blame for my choices, my actions and my words; and boy, there is no short list of scape goats.
So let me go over my list of various “face palm” situations and the appropriate organizations, groups and people to blame. In fair warning, this is not going to be pretty and if you are easily offended, you should stop reading right now.
  1. I love Jesus and so should you!
    I am glad you found Jesus. I really am. I assume you found him because you actually read his words. They can be found in this nice collection of scriptures called “The New Testament.” Read this sentence again – The New Testament! Now that we have established where christianity comes from, we should also reiterate what it means to be a Christian! It does not mean you are Jewish. Hence, quoting passages from Genesis, for example, means you are quoting the first book of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and the OLD TESTAMENT. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Jesus! But aside from the obvious, since this might be merely semantics here for some people, Jesus was pretty clear on the no hate, loving, don’t judge, don’t throw the first stone, etc. kind of stuff. He was super clear on helping the poor and sick and also quite straight forward on how he felt about those who were outcasts.
    Now, I understand that you may be a homophobic, selfish, judgmental, non-compassionate douche canoe, and I also understand that you must blame gay people, other religions, races, homeless and unemployed people and whomever else you don’t like or understand for your appalling behavior, but technically speaking, this makes you, literally, the anti-christ! If you don’t follow a single thing the man preached, you are no longer allowed to call yourself a Christian. And, since you are saying that the bible isn’t open for interpretation, well, then you can’t be part of all these strange splinter groups you’ve created, like baptist, Jehova’s Witness, Mormon, etc.  Technically speaking, you guys were all catholic, until Martin Luther nailed his proclamations to the church door in Wittenberg and formed Lutherism!
  2. Stop telling me how to dress – I embrace my morbid obesity
    Honestly, I don’t care what size you are. I do, however, feel amazed reading all these strange articles, written by offended, fat women (there, I used the “f” word), who are supposedly embracing their bodies and merely fighting for equality. People…. I am NOT thin! Since I have passed the 40s, I struggle with weight like you wouldn’t believe. I can merely look at a cheeseburger and promptly gain a pound. I have gained at least 30 pounds since my early 30s. I was the fat kid in school they made fun of and I struggled with weight my entire life – yes, read again, my entire life!
    I also think that the fashion industry causes harm to a girl’s self-esteem. I believe that we shouldn’t possibly be judged by a standard that fits less than 1% of the entire population and I believe that we have created a monster with our fashion and beauty standards. BUT…I strongly believe in being healthy! The truth is, I have never met an active (exercises regularly) and healthy eating obese person, just like I have never met a healthy underweight person. I am not going to go into the increase of heart disease, diabetes and cardiac diseases we have due to our crappy lifestyle, but the truth is, if you are blessed with crappy genes, like your’s truly here, you’ll have to work on being healthy! This means that sugars and processed foods are not your friend. Neither are sodas, sodium laden and fried foods. Once you reach mid 30s and 40s, you simply have to exercise, because your metabolism goes down the drain. Welcome to aging! These are the harsh and simple truths. I understand that sugary, fatty and salty treats taste much, much better than kale or a salad, I even understand how addictive this stuff is and that means, I just can’t buy it/have it in the house or order it all the time when I go out. I am prone to diabetes, pancreatitis and obesity, and that means I don’t get to mope, I just have to make different choices. I also understand that I will never be super skinny or a size 4 or 2 again, because I am not willing to make the sacrifices I would have to make to get there!
    And while we are at it. Just because you CAN wear a bikini or leggings, doesn’t mean you should. This isn’t about rights! This is about the fact that some clothes look better on one’s body than others. There is stuff that doesn’t look good on my almost 6′ tall roommate that looks good on me and vice versa! I just don’t get what is gained with the constant bickering about “I’m going to wear this thong bikini, even though I weight 300 lbs and you can’t stop me.” It’s not hate when someone says “you shouldn’t be wearing this!” It merely means this particular piece of clothing may not look good on you. Watch “What Not To Wear!”
  3. I don’t have the skills, I don’t have the training, but I should have my manager’s job
    No, you shouldn’t and no, you won’t. I know, you’ve been lead to believe that everyone deserves a trophy and a medal and that you deserve whatever you want, because you are worth it. I also understand that, in certain situations, the guy/woman who runs the show may be a self-entitled, shady and incompetent Muppet, who shouldn’t have gotten the job to begin with. But that doesn’t mean you are right for it either! Just because you’ve been with the company for a gazillion years doesn’t mean your natural progression should be management or above; especially when you can barely put a sentence together, hate people, have a problem with your temper, have an issue with being at work on time or calling in sick, or simply don’t have the general skill set. In a great company you will have a manager who will tell you what your skill set or your strengths are and will hopefully find a way to align you with those. Don’t be a jerk if they are trying to manage or coach you; chances are, you haven’t gotten to where you want to be for a reason and it’s either because you don’t have it, or because you stuck around with the same company and the same dictator boss for years, which also doesn’t show great initiative or leadership! A lot of companies allow their individual contributors to rise equally as high as other VP or director roles without the managing part. A great manager would never set you up for failure, and simply giving you what you want, because you whined long enough about it isn’t doing that. Plus, people deserve competent and strong managers who lead by example and can serve as role models. People haters, those who can’t communicate properly, verbally or written, can’t have tough conversations, have low self-esteem, have a temper issues, or simply barely make it at their job do not qualify. Lead by example and do the job amazingly well, that is what gets you recognized and gets you the promotion. Whining, complaining and threatening, not so much.
I know it’s difficult to grasp that you are truly responsible and accountable for the quality of your life. I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear it. After all, how sad would I be if I realized that my crappy choices and miserable life is no longer my parent’s, teacher’s, manager’s and anyone else’s fault, but my own? What will I do once I can no longer blame my metabolism, my genes and the restaurants for my body, but only my choices? Where will I go, once I realize that my hate, intolerance and bigotry is simply my own, fueled by my surroundings, especially the one I grew up in?
Life would be so much harder if I was truly and completely accountable for everything that spews from my mouth, everything I do and don’t do and the outcomes and consequences attached to it. Hence, I must continue spreading my BS, because I know I am right and that’s all that matters!
It’s amazing how wrong our society is with so many right(eous) and good people in it. Because what’s the first thing any hater will tell you? That they are a good person…
  
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Your Past Does Not Matter (Or why your past does not excuse your current behavior)

  
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Love, Best Friends and Douchebaggery

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“I deserve much better than this.” How many times have you heard someone say that; or worse, how often have you said it? There is something profoundly unhealthy about staying with a person because you have to make a point or prove that you are worth it. “But I am a good person! Why can’t he see that.” Or how about “once I am gone he is really going to realize that he lost the best thing that’s ever happened to him.”

I hate to break it to people, because I also hated breaking it to myself: NO, he is NOT going to realize that! Maybe he misses pieces of you, maybe he hates being alone, but no, he is not in some magic slumber that will suddenly end when you choose to leave. Chances are, he is going to move on, the way he always has before you came around. Maybe there is relief in knowing that he no longer has to work so hard or pretend or fight, or whatever. Maybe there isn’t. But what most of us don’t want to admit is that it doesn’t matter what the other one thinks, feels, wants, needs or doesn’t. What matters is what you feel, think, want and need. If you cannot believe that you are worth it or “deserve better” you won’t convince anyone else of it. It’s as easy as that.

Running around the world and telling everyone how beautiful, deserving, smart, ambitious, amazing and loving you are is not going to make you so. If you cannot believe in yourself, no one else will. If you don’t set boundaries, no one else will. If you don’t decide what and when it is enough, well, I’m sorry to say then you have it coming. All I can say is, “brace yourself and get ready for the next round of crap.”

Love…what a wonderful notion – and yet I think a lot of us have it wrong. Love isn’t pain and it isn’t hard work. Love isn’t misery, fighting, struggling and proving your self-worth. Love is not about power, control, dominance, fear, anger and selfish whims. Love is not an addiction you have to fuel like an addict. And no, it’s not about fear and adrenaline rush (often mistaken as the initial “in love” experience). Love is about deep appreciation, respect and admiration for the other person. It’s about the joy you experience when spending time and space with them. It’s about mutual interests, but most importantly same values! If your core values do not match, you won’t either. This is not about compromise. A compromise is about taste in food and music, not in areas like being monogamous or loyal, for example.

While we are talking about the foundation for love; let’s also discuss friendship for a moment. We often use the reason that the other is our best friend. And again, I come in with the brutal truth: Wow! Your bar when it comes to friendships must be set, not just super low, but probably be buried underground; unless it is OK for your friends to be dishonest, disloyal, selfish and mean to you. I often see people put up with stuff for the sake of friendship and honestly, it amazes me what they consider a best friend. Truth? A person who consistently puts their needs ahead of yours, does not treat you with kindness, respect, care and consideration is not only a lousy partner, but definitely not a friend either. I wouldn’t even acknowledge them as an acquaintance. Don’t mistake the few good times you have and the few times he/she actually listens and attempts to care or do the right thing as being a friend. Friends don’t hurt you consistently and/or worse, deliberately!

It is sad, maddening and hard to stand up for yourself when you don’t know how to. It is difficult to understand that no one but you is responsible for your happiness. You can roll over and stay in denial, blaming the other(s) for your misery, but in the end, it’s all on you. Your quality of life is on you. Happiness, success and health – yep, also almost 100% on you. Even when life deals you crap cards, it’s still on you. There is power in this! Trust me. I view these trials and crap times of my life as badges of maturity and wisdom. There were times when I kept sticking my finger in the electrical outlet, electrocuting myself over and over,  wondering why I was in so much pain; until I learned to stop doing that.

So the question remains: Are you done yet, or are you ready for the next round of pain! The choice is 100% yours.

 

  
Posted in And this is why he/she is still single, Break-the-Cycle Series, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cure for Diabetes

Hello Everyone!

I am riding for the American Diabetes foundation and only need $176 to reach my goal. If you can, please donate a few dollars to this worthy cause. The link is below:

Carmen Honacker’s Donation Page

  
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Crazy Is as Crazy Does

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Ever had the urge to beat the living snot out of someone? How about making up a complete BS story in order to impress another? Have you ever snooped after a partner, because you had the nagging suspicion that he/she might have been lying or cheating? Maybe you stalked the one who dumped you because you were just so obsessed with him/her that you couldn’t help yourself. And then there may have been a situation where you lied through your teeth in order to not face the consequence of the action.

I once asked a psychiatrist how a sociopath could do the things he was doing. I asked how it is possible to not feel regret, remorse, sympathy or empathy at all. His answer was along the lines of “if you would be able to understand it, we’d have a problem. It would make you one of them.” Apparently, all of us have the ability to commit horrible crimes (just think of hate crimes, or what Nazis did in Germany) but what makes the difference is the choices that we make.

Let’s leave chemical imbalance and obvious mental illnesses like schizophrenia out for a moment. Quite often, what makes the difference between sanity and insanity, good or evil, etc. are the actions we take. In other words, the urge by itself does not define you, but the action that you take will.

When people blame circumstances or others for their individual actions, I tend to feel the same amount of astonishment and disbelief I did with the sociopath. I can’t wrap my head around hurting another physically, emotionally, psychologically/mentally or all of the above and claiming that you did what you did due to some exterior force that you had no control over (like being drunk, someone told you so, they started it and so on). At what point do we overwrite common sense, reasoning, logic, decency, morals and ethics and simply move forward with our action? Sure, there are many explanations for why people do what they do, but I still don’t get it.

Sometimes the craziest ideas may overcome us; other times we simply feel so angry or hurt that we can justify whatever means necessary to make that feeling go away, but don’t we also have a responsibility as human beings to not intentionally harm others for our own selfish reason or need?

Most of us don’t want to hurt another or be “bad” people. I have always said that it is impossible for us to always achieve this goal. Sometimes, we hurt others no matter how hard we try not to. But what makes the difference is our intent. Everyone screws up, everyone makes mistakes and some of them will be at someone else’s expense . What always mattered to me is the simple ability to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day, knowing that I did the best I could, based on the knowledge and information I had at the time.

I think it is good to question oneself. I think it serves us to surround ourselves with those who will question our actions and challenge us in our beliefs and ways of being. If we only spend time with people who agree with us and think alike, we will never grow, which is why I am so weary of “herds” and groups of like minded individuals. Sure, we all want to belong and it is easier to belong with those who think alike or act in ways familiar to us, but therein lies the danger to repeat cycles that continue for generations and for us to never grow past of what we know.

Crazy is as crazy does, and good is as good does. If who we are is defined by our actions and actions are driven by thought, maybe we should all be more mindful of our thoughts and then our actions? Maybe if we questioned more and followed less and sat with being a little uncomfortable in the face of adversity or the unknown, and maybe if we chose our actions less on overthinking and more on the intention to be the best we can be and make a difference, not just for us but also for others, we would feel less crazy, have more control and probably be happier, too. Crazy sometimes is simply a choice; and so is sanity, healthy behavior, love, hate, anger, fear, happy or misery. Happy is as happy does. Think and act on that!

  
Posted in Break-the-Cycle Series, Human Behavior | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religion – No Longer a Source of Faith and Community

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I was raised protestant. Pretty much everyone in Germany is either protestant or catholic; after all, we have to get baptized, even though our parents never set foot into a church. In school, we start having religious studies from 1st grade on, all the way through graduation, including business school. You can’t opt out, unless you are not baptized (the horror!) and therefore are nondenominational. When I was 14 I went through confirmation; the equivalent to communion for the catholics. Of course,  I had to attend bible studies before my confirmation and the test at the end (remind me one day of how I embarrassed myself in church by accidentally naming Hitler instead of Jesus in response to the minister’s question!).

Why am I sharing this information? Well, because I really did spend more than 10 years being indoctrinated in Jesus and the bible. And while I don’t remember most of it, I remember the parts that count. I also have to say that I had an awesome minister who was honest enough to explain the difference between taking the bible literally and understanding the mere metaphors. He assured me that I wasn’t a bad person for not believing in the whole Adam and Eve bit. I remember when he once said to me “you have to remember that the people back then didn’t have scientific explanations for anything. But the Bible is meant as metaphor and guide on how to be a decent person; a blueprint for a good life if you will” This is what I took with me!

Interestingly enough, even though pretty much everyone was baptized and we all had religion in school and went through communion/confirmation, I would still label Germany a predominantly atheist country. There are certain things you do (like baptizing your children) because this is how our society works. But religion is not ever used in politics and does not feature in decisions of what makes you a good or bad person – and this is precisely the difference that I see between how I grew up and what I am seeing here. The lack of religion actually served in becoming a country with a much stronger socioeconomic system. It is expected that the richer help the poorer, the stronger help the weaker and that everyone is ENTITLED to free health care. Yep, all the principles taught in the bible are mostly demonstrated in countries that are predominantly atheist (look this up, if you don’t believe me).

Religion was part of my culture and yet, it was never an invasive, all consuming power like it is here. What is being said and done in the name of religion is shocking and appalling to me. The way people are trying to weasel “god” into government, law and every part of our society is truly disturbing, terrifying and threatening to me. If they would represent the values and teachings of their religion, I might actually understand. But when religion serves as a front to hate, discriminate, belittle and hurt other people, I am going to fight it. If you are telling me you are devout, while screaming to not support the lazy unemployed, screw people who can’t afford healthcare and gripping on to your wealth because people CHOOSE to be poor/are poor due to their own fault and choices, while demonstrating to take rights away from gay people and immigrants, then I’ll just hold on to insisting that I am German, even though I am an American now.

I keep wracking my brain how seemingly intelligent people fall for complete douche baggery. Sure, I understand that religion has long served as a means to build communities and create a sense of belonging. I understand that religion is even necessary for some, because they simply need a book of rules, a guide or moral compass that serves as the blueprint to how to live their lives. I have used my spirituality and beliefs I held in the past as my moral compass. Not because I couldn’t tell right from wrong, but because I wanted to believe that there is something bigger than me and that there is meaning to a life well lived. I understand how our brains are actually hard-wired for spirituality! I simply don’t understand what happens afterwards. At what point do reason, logic and common sense just go bye-bye and we become complete jerks? And being true to myself, I researched this in detail!

The common denominator with almost all religions is the sense of superiority it delivers. It promises salvation and rewards to those who believe the way they are told, which is where the “my god is better than yours” comes in. You play into people’s sense of purpose and feeling special or better than others and quite often, you have them roped in. Ego and religion often go hand in hand. And sadly, those who are in it to simply be better people are getting drowned out by the fanatical nutjobs who make the most noise and hence, give a false representation of what a certain religion is about. These points are very well demonstrated in Christian splinter groups, Scientology and the Islam.

What makes me so sad and what’s so disappointing is that people don’t really live what they preach. These days, all kinds of crimes are being committed in the name of Jesus and Allah. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that people are hating in the name of god, or the fact that they blatantly misinterpret and abuse scripture that was meant to serve as a guide to help, heal and love. The values that are taught in regards to love, compassion and kindness have been replaced with agendas, power displays, hate and bigotry.

The fact that it seems almost normal and accepted now to force religion into law and schools is seriously worrisome for me. If you want your child to be raised with religious values, send them to a private religious school and pay for it. But don’t force your belief on the rest, claiming you know what is best! I find that so truly offensive! What ever gave you the right to force what YOU believe on the rest of the world?

People! This country is still founded on the freedom of religion AND separation of church and state. There is a reason for this. Maybe, you could “convert” people by demonstrating what an amazingly loving and morally superior person you are. Maybe, if you’d live the values, more people would literally flock to your church, instead of turning away from it. Maybe if you’d stop with the fear mongering, hate speech and attacks on everyone and everything  that isn’t like you, people would be intrigued, instead of disgusted and put off.

When I see gay bashing, funerals being picketed and laws are attempted to being passed that would allow to make some people more equal than others, when I live in the supposed land of the free and equal, when I see that it is accepted and supported that some people are violated in their rights in the name of a supposed god, I just hang my head in shame and stand over on the other side – with the atheists! If being a believer now means being lumped in with a bunch of crazy, mean-spirited jerks and bullies, I’ll rather stick with the science folks!

  
Posted in Spirituality/Philosophy, Things that Annoy Me, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment