Feel It, But Don’t Act On It!

The good old saying is “Follow your heart!” But actually, this is not necessarily a good idea for everyone, and definitely not a good idea for me, or people like me. When I follow my heart, it usually ends in disaster. This is due to the fact that our rational thinking process is very skewed when we are highly emotional, and most of the time, we don’t make the best decisions in that place! Why is that? Because it is never a good idea to make decisions in any state of imbalance or extremes!!

I am a very emotionally charged person. My emotions can be really overwhelming when it comes to certain “triggers” I have. When someone triggers me, they might as well have committed a crime. In the past, depending on the “offense” I felt someone committed, I could launch an all out attack that would leave not much left in it’s wake.

Struggling through months of cognitive behavioral therapy is teaching me that I am not “allowed” to act on my feelings. I have every right to feel them, but I must step away before I talk to the person involved, and take a time-out. I have, and still am, learning behaviors that are healthy and appropriate in situations that would have had me fly off the handle, or even retaliate. It is very hard and painstakingly difficult to rewire my brain, but it is keeping me away from a lot of the heart aches I have brought on to myself throughout my life.

Every time I want to really react, I do something that is good for me instead. For example, when someone triggers rejection, I go and get a manicure, watch a movie I want to see, work out, go swimming, read a book, or play World of Warcraft. Whatever keeps me stable and rewards me for not acting out is allowed. Whatever is HEALTHY is allowed.

My initial responses are not yet changed. My first response is still the good old storm, but then I stop dead in my tracks and before I pick up that phone or write that email, I force myself to walk away.

The same old trigger for me is that I feel that people “got away with it.” I am the one who has to tell them what a true douche they are, because all the other cowards idly stand by and look the other way. I keep feeling the way I felt as a kid, when people did stand by and no one intervened or helped on my behalf. When I feel this way an unbelievable rage comes over me, literally shutting down my rational thought process and I go after the person; or so I did in the past.

The overwhelming feeling of not being able to confront those who have cowardly abandoned me, turned on me or betrayed me is deeply ingrained in me. And yet, I am learning to heal from that. It has never worked to confront them. I never did get an apology, but instead would get more hurtful blame and guilt trips thrown at me. I have never really accomplished anything by telling them what it did to me, because the ones who pushed me to that degree of hurt were every single time not only so deep in denial that they couldn’t see truth if it hit them on the head with a 2×4, but were also so incredibly selfish and/or heartless that they simply lacked the ability to truly feel for another. This is like screaming at a deaf and blind person, literally.

It sounds simplistic maybe, or even stupid, but one of my mantras is “just say NO!” Whenever I am presented with something that hits my fight mode, I don’t run from it, but I walk away, talking to the voices of reason in my life. Whenever I want to “help,” or “safe” I do the same.

I am stumbling about like a child. It’s almost as if I ask “am I allowed to say this/that” and then wait for the answer before I proceed. It’s just that nowadays, I actually know the answer before I act and follow accordingly.

My life is changing drastically. I look around me and there is very little that is familiar to me. From the initial “ranks” there are less than a handful of people left; I have a brand new job in a brand new environment and I am really taking care of my health now in ways that I never have before.

It is all so unfamiliar. Nothing is at it was and maybe because I am no longer acting on emotion, I am feeling them so much deeper and stronger than ever before. It’s like a mountain I keep climbing and I know, with absolute certainty, that one day, in the not-so-far future, I will have overcome and climbed that mountain. I shall then plant my victory flag and finally thrive, instead of merely cope and survive.

How to Diffuse Whiners

Who doesn’t know at least one whiner? They can be found at work, at home and in pretty much every part of the world. When I talk about a “whiner,” I am talking about someone who consistently complains, hardly ever takes actions, rarely or never takes responsibility for their complaints, has no solutions and stands out by emphasizing victimhood, i.e. total helplessness. One of their favorite words is “but…” usually accompanied by long diatribes about nothing being their fault and the world being a completely unfair place that is out to get them.

First of all, let me explain that arguing won’t do any good. Nor does reasoning or even evidence. What one has to remember is that this truly is their reality! They believe their own stories, no matter how crazy it will sound to another. You can present such a person with black and white evidence and they will look you straight in the eye, still claiming that they are not to blame/weren’t at fault. So here are a few ways to diffuse complainers:

  1. At Work
    The number one rule is to never ever feed the stories of a whiner. It isn’t compassion they are looking for, but an opinion poll. The more people agree and feel sorry for them, the more the story becomes validated as truth, hence, perpetuating the cycle. So here is what one of my managers once taught me. If you come to me with a complaint, you must have a solution for the problem. You get to vent; but only a few times. When the “complaining” becomes a pattern, you are no longer allowed to keep complaining, unless you have thought of a way to solve the issue!
  2. Social Networking or Other Public Forums
    OK, are you ready for this, because this is a really long piece of advice? Here it goes: IGNORE! Whiners thrive on attention and are so deeply stuck in denial that they do need others to validate their stories, which deep down inside, some of them suspect to be BS. Don’t feed the craziness, or it will not only keep going, but might actually get worse.
  3.  In Your Personal Life
    It depends on how attached you are to the person. My advice would be to distance yourself from whiners, because they tend to make the lives of others miserable. My overall advice generally is to distance oneself from (self)destructive people, because they have a way to keep taking you down with them. And even if they don’t, they usually do not contribute to your life, because it is always about them and because they are always in a miserable place that varies from total depression, over anger to complete indifference.

What makes whiners annoying for most people, well, at least those who care about others a lot, is the fact that there is no solution! You can give advice, counsel, listen, empathize, feel sorry or attempt to help and it will all go into the same black hole of nothingness. At work one can hold people accountable based on stats and metrics, and no matter how much they fight it or whine, at the end of the day they will have to comply. But in any other setting this is impossible to do. Thus, these people are a huge time and emotional suck that leaves you feeling frustrated and drained.

I know that sometimes it may sound as if I am quick to “discard” people, but actually this is not the case. This is why I know so much about the various topics I choose to write about. I have spent literally years of attempting to rescue and reason with people in various stages of denial and have never succeeded.

We only live once! Your time is valuable and so are you as a person. Why would you waste precious time on individuals who cannot accept your gift for what it is, but greedily keep taking without giving back? Why would you think that your attempts to change the person or to “help” them are even remotely successful, when time after time they repeat the same behaviors, complain about the same stuff and never “get it?” And why would you expect that they will actually be able to give anything back, if they are not taking responsibility for anything else in their life and keep complaining to you? You have to remember that a person who does not respect themselves and is incapable of doing the right thing for their own sake, is even less likely to do the same for another! In the business world they are called “cutters,” because they undermine and sabotage the work environment.

Sometimes we tend to think “they would never do x, y, z to me!” I am here to tell you, oh yes, they will! Unless you see them coming and respond accordingly. Invest time, space, emotions and your advice for those who really need it and deserve it; as for the whiners, just say “NO!”

Create Your Universe – Any Way You Want It

Again, this post can also be found on California Psychics:


Sometimes we get stuck in the past. We drown in self-pity and sorrow over making the wrong choices, over not saying things we should have said and not doing things we should have done. There is no harm done in wondering, but there is a lot of harm in getting stuck in regret over believing that a different decision in the past could have spelled out success in the now. The past cannot be changed, so why dwell on it? I know that it is human nature to imagine “better” for the unknown. Time seems to have a strange way of making bad situations appear better than they truly were. How often, when we were single, did we look back at a mediocre or even bad relationship, somehow remembering it as not that bad? When we look through the eyes of desperation, we not only see things distorted, but we see them through rose-colored glasses that are usually nothing more but a figment of our imagination.

All of us have the power to change our lives drastically. The problem is that most people are looking in the wrong places, believing that outside forces determine happiness and success. In truth, happiness and peace of mind do not come from external sources for most of us, but almost solely from what is within us. Sure, other people have an impact, but we determine just how big that impact has to be.

I understand more than most how difficult it is to not be affected by the continuously bad choices of others. It is very difficult to not get affected when people we care about “make” us feel miserable, and either advertently or inadvertently draw us into their reality. It is hard to not react when they lash out at us or mess up our life because they can’t get it together. It is hard to keep one’s optimism when they make demands, put guilt trips on us, manipulate or simply have no regard for us. It is difficult to keep one’s cool when they strike at yet another part of our core or trigger a bad response. For all these reasons, I keep repeating how important it is to allow only those individuals into our lives who actually support our healthy growth. Going through the steps is hard enough as it is, but it can, and for some people is, nearly impossible to change while being surrounded by those who neither support nor help facilitate your efforts and hard work.

In order to achieve a better life, one has to start changing oneself. If we do not change who we are and how we perceive the world, we will keep attracting more of the same. I keep stressing the importance of environment, but the environment won’t change, no matter how far you move and how different of a group you think you may have bonded with, unless you change your own mind. The same poison can have many different forms and shapes. Again, I have experienced just that when I moved across continents. As long as I remained the same, nothing really shifted for me, even though I was in a different country. The people that showed up had different looks about them, but were essentially the same ones I left behind in Germany. The only thing I changed was geography.

Changing my life means changing who I am, sometimes in my very core. The world looks very different to me now, and so do the people in it. Things that used to trigger me don’t as much anymore. Unfortunately, other things I have never noticed before are suddenly magnified. This whole shift is very uncomfortable and foreign to me. I am, literally, on completely foreign turf. This opens a whole new portal of insecurities I didn’t know existed, while getting rid of others that had been lingering for years. Sometimes there are bursts of strength and optimism, fueled by a whole new slew of wisdom, and other times there is exhaustion and a feeling of being overwhelmed when I look at what is still ahead.

I guess what keeps me going are the successes on the way. There are glimpses of true happiness, not the pseudo happiness I mostly experienced. It is still difficult to act against “my grain.” It is different to walk away instead of facing people head on. It is also foreign to understand when and whom I truly need to confront or trust. Turns out, I really fought a lot of empty battles and therefore had an equally high failure rate.

I now understand more than ever why certain traits such as integrity, honesty, courage and loyalty are magnified for me and why I will always be triggered, deeply hurt and turned off by those who don’t possess them. However, as my journey progresses, my exposure to those who hinder my growth becomes less and less. I spend 5 out of 7 days a week actively on self-improvement. I got rid of the excuses and stopped holding myself back. Happiness does not fall on anyone’s head! It is something that is created. Some of us have been dealt a better hand in life than others, but luck does not create true and lasting happiness. One has to contribute to that. And sitting around complaining and mourning the past and the choices we made back then does not create anything but misery.

I wished I could report that it is easy to walk the path of the creator. Alas, the path is rocky, long, windy and steep. What I can report is shorter spells of doubt, sadness, depression, anger and self-pity, and longer spells of introspection, balance, peace, quiet and empowerment. Some report that I appear happy and perky most of these days and that I have my light back. I don’t think I am quite there yet, but at least I am on the right path! Sometimes I still stomp my foot and pout, whining “why does it have to be so hard?” Then I shrug my shoulders, get a good laugh and answer “well, it is what it is. And I hate to tell you this, but you created most of it. Now get your pudding butt into the gym and we’ll talk a year from now…”

Why I can’t stand Teabaggers

I really, really try to not write about politics, but lately, I can’t help but go there. I might be off my rocker, but each time any of them speak, all I hear is bigotry, hatred, prejudice, propaganda and simply BS. Apparently, every half-wit is allowed to publically speak and voice a completely unfounded opinion; usually sporting horrific grammar and spelling when submitted in written form. Rarely do I see as much finger-pointing and blaming as I see it from most of the individuals who lean to the far right. Facts are not so much their friend, as long as one screams “USA!” and waves an American flag about.

I thought this country was based on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, as well as separation between church and state. Somehow, these brilliant individuals seem to get the very thing they are yelling about (namely, the good old values of the country) not only completely backwards, but also terribly mixed up and twisted.

Every time I see Sarah Palin, I feel an incredible sense of dread. Watching how she runs her not-so-smart mouth, spewing hypocrisy and half-truths makes me want to throw up. I am even more disappointed in the fact that this BS is working for quite a few people. I’ve seen previews to her TV show and wonder how in the world people enjoy this woman. It deeply worries me that she and her posse have grown incredibly popular in this country. It worries me even more that it seems ok these days to publically ridicule, hate, bully and hurt people.

I feel ashamed when I watch gay people or US soldiers, who risk their lives out there, being treated as criminals by some of the extreme Christian churches. And wouldn’t we know it; these churches are predominantly located in the red states. Somehow the most atrocious behaviors are acceptable, if one carries or quotes the good book!

It makes absolutely no sense to me how these people claim that Obama ran the country into the ground. The fact that Bush completely annihilated the US in his 8 year reign of stupidity somehow gets swept under the carpet. To compare Obama to Hitler and calling him a communist is just absolutely mind-boggling to me, especially since most of the haters have not the slightest clue what socialism or communism truly are about. I am very strongly for more social care in this country! But then, I am one of the privileged few who just spent about $4k in additional doctor bills my $1,800 a month PPO didn’t cover.

Who argues these ridiculous notions? Are these real people? Are these people who ever had to sit in an ER for hours? People who ever had to pay thousands of dollars in doctor bills for something simple? Maybe these are people who never get sick and they sure as hell can’t be people who had loved ones trying to battle cancer without proper insurance. Who argues that we need more Christian values, when “love thy neighbor” is definitely not one of these values and the “throwing stones while sitting in a glass house” is also overlooked. How do they read the Bible? Is it like “ok, I do like this part. I am going to run with that and twist it. However, that part I don’t like, so I am going to omit that!”

The hypocrisy seems to have no bounds and the idiots in this country scream the loudest, which means that is how the rest of the world sees all of us. I mean, what exactly are they thinking? If they are all such huge believers and great citizens, how come we are surely not known for our tolerance, kindness, intellect or greatness in other countries anymore? Apparently, they are suffering from great delusions of grandeur with their “we are the greatest nation in the world” mantra, when they are the ones who actually changed this very image.

I wonder if they ever feel stupid when their only argument to changing the crap hole we are in right now is “well, if you hate it, why don’t you move to a communist  country!” But then, no they do not, because this is the dumb comment I keep seeing over and over and obviously the only one they can come up with when being called on their “facts.”

Sadly, I don’t have the answers here. I am not all that thrilled with the lack of decision making and actions coming from the democrats either. Maybe I have to accept the fact that most politicians are corrupt and/or powerless and that only the most radical douche canoes are heard the loudest, and hence, sport the greatest following. Of course, teach them early is also a great tool. Brainwashing kids works always great, as we know from the Middle East and other radical nations. Meanwhile, all I can do is keep voting and opening my mouth, while trying to support human and animal rights organizations as much as I can.

If the current state of our country is not the best argument for atheism, I don’t know what is. Because any supreme being would have already come down and smited the crap out of most of the world’s population! 

10 Most Desirable Traits in Human Beings

Here is a blog I wrote for CaliforniaPsychics. The link is here: http://blog.californiapsychics.com/blog/2011/01/10-most-desirable-traits-in-human-beings.html/

No one is free of flaws and quirks. But there are ten personality/character traits that attract the right people and circumstances into one’s life. One could say that these are the character traits of highly successful people.

1. Integrity

The true definition of integrity comes from the Latin word integritas, which means “whole” or “intact.” It encumbers all the traits that make a truly “good” person, such as honesty, being incorruptible, straight and morally upright.

A person with integrity won’t lie, will keep their word and won’t screw you over. They won’t go behind your back, badmouth you, go after another person’s partner or cheat on you, and they adhere to a code of ethics that may make them predictable, but safe to the heart and one’s sanity. No unpleasant surprises come from someone with a high sense of integrity. They follow a code of ethics that tends to be, as the word suggests, incorruptible, and they adhere to principles of common decency.

2. Courageousness

Let’s face it, people. Who wants to be with a coward? Someone who can’t and won’t stand up for their own beliefs will definitely not stand up for you or anyone else. Courageousness may not seem like such a big deal to some, but upon examining history, one notices that cowards are not too different from criminals. Why? Because most atrocious crimes to mankind would not have succeeded had it not been for the silent bystanders and those who looked the other way. No courage usually also means no principles, which will make you expendable for the simple reason that a coward will only do the least effort required and will tug tail and run when true work is required.

3. Sense of Humor

Life has ups and downs. There will be good times, bad times, hard times and easy times. Everything is easier if one keeps a sense of humor, or at least surrounds oneself with those who have one. There is a reason that poll after poll shows that most people desire a sense of humor in their partners. I also feel that someone who makes me laugh most of the time will probably not make me cry too often either. For some odd reason, this equation works for me.

4. Intelligence, Education and Common Sense

I have met plenty of people in my life with high IQs and no common sense. My personal belief is that common sense, social intelligence and “street smarts” are pretty much the same. Being able to solve the most difficult mathematical problems won’t make anyone a great partner or friend, if they cannot hold a conversation, relate to other people at all and have zero social skills. Social skills or relating to others are abilities required to use common sense, which dictates what or what not to do or say in every day settings. Overall, I don’t think any further explanation is required when it comes to this point.

5. Emotionally Open

No one wants to be with someone who is so closed off that they can’t show the most “normal” emotions. If you have ever tried to be friends or have a relationship with someone who has the emotional depth of a rock, you’ll know what I mean. How would someone who has a hard time feeling, or showing feelings, relate to you? I feel that the happy medium is our friend here. There is a difference between someone who is so closed off that they just look at you blankly, or worse, scold you or put you down when you’re feeling sad or miserable, and then there are those who break down as soon as someone looks at them the wrong way. Being able to share one’s heart doesn’t mean that one has to be a weakling or whiner. Someone who can’t feel is usually damaged goods, and lack of depth in emotional matters usually translates into lack of depth in other matters!

6. Kindness

Kindness protects you from all kinds of heart-aches. Kindness is like integrity. A person who possesses kindness will usually keep your heart safe and your best interests in mind. Their willingness to help others also translates into someone who knows how to put another’s needs ahead of their own when needed. A kind person carries a light, and that light tends to attract other “good” people too.

7. Self-Confidence

Everyone is low on confidence now and then. But stay clear of those with literally no self-esteem. A person without self-confidence/self-esteem spells disaster, because they will fail on numerous other “must-haves.” They are usually driven by self-preservation, and will do almost anything to overcome their feelings of inadequacy. This can make them psychotic and distrusting, and possibly even make them into stalkers. Which, in return, almost always ensures dishonesty, a closed heart/inability to truly feel and experience love and joy, a lack of integrity and definitely no courage. They’re usually a bucket with a huge hole in the bottom. No matter how much love and care one will pour into them, it will never be enough to make them feel safe, loved or good enough. After all, it’s impossible to love and care for someone who doesn’t love and care for themselves!

8. Discipline

There are different levels of discipline, that’s for sure. But avoid those who have absolutely no discipline at all. It requires discipline to succeed in life. Anyone who throws in the towel at the first sign of difficulty or opposition will not make a great long-term companion. This is because discipline translates into stamina, i.e. staying power. A person who can’t stick with anything for a longer period of time because it’s uncomfortable or means work is, again, someone who is either not confident or lazy. In either scenario, it’s not going to be a winning situation for you, because if they can’t stick with their own goals, they won’t stick with you either.

9. Generosity

One of the worst people to have in one’s life is a miser. Those who constantly complain about the money they don’t have, especially while spending it on things that don’t serve them, are not only annoying, but also no fun to have around. The opposite of generous is selfish, and who wants to be with a selfish person? Being miserly also tends to show individuals who are very preoccupied with material, i.e. superficial things. Combine that with the constant complaint about not having enough, and you’ll get a good picture of how life with someone who can’t be generous looks like.

10. Self-Awareness

I can’t stress the importance of self-awareness enough. Most people believe themselves to be all kinds of things which they are not. This is due to the fact that they aren’t really all that self-aware, and hence don’t ever check to see if their idea of who they are actually coincides with what other people see about them. Self-awareness is the fine middle ground of truly knowing your strengths and weaknesses without being either completely weak and self-loathing, or arrogant and narcissistic. Self-awareness allows us to know when we are way off our rocker. It allows us to see when we are wrong/screwed up and need to possibly adjust or change certain behaviors and patterns. Self-awareness allows us to look in the mirror and see who we really are; not who we think we are or hoped we were. People without self-awareness cannot grow, because they will never learn from past mistakes. They are literally blind and lost souls, stumbling after what looks and sounds the most appealing. Without self-awareness there is no truth, just illusion; and a perpetual cycle of trying to find what they think will make them happy. If you don’t know who you are, you sure as hell won’t know what makes you happy.

If you cannot be these things yourself, you probably won’t attract them in others. While we will always attract those who challenge us, and may push us to grow and overcome certain things, we still attract those who are like us. The key to finding one’s own happiness is to be the things that you require and wish for in another.

Intellectual vs. Internal

I keep stumbling over the fact that self-awareness has nothing to do with intelligence at all. I find it difficult to be compassionate or understanding with highly manipulative, crazy or dysfunctional people, if they are either really intelligent, really educated, or worse, both of them. If someone is not too bright it makes it easier for me to understand how they’d lack certain abilities; unlike someone who “should know better.” They frustrate me to no end, because I cannot help but see their way of being as deliberate.

I have recently started to understand that this is not the case. Intellect says absolutely nothing about a person’s internal life; and that my friends, is a fact.

What is the common denominator for those who are not self-aware? That would be denial. And denial occurs at any social-economic status, upbringing, background, education or IQ.

It is hard for me to grasp. But then, if reason and logic would rule the world, we sure as hell wouldn’t have half of the problems on this planet.

While I intellectually understand why most people choose to live in denial and why it is incredibly painful and hard to look at oneself, instead of blaming others, I simply don’t get it internally.

Sure, I get that pain is something most people want to avoid, but I don’t get why the potential outcome is not enticing enough. I guess, it works well for me that I see many things in black and white. For me, it was simply “do you want to keep experiencing misery?” and “what do you have to lose? It sure as hell can’t get any worse than it already is right now.” That was enough for me to seek out help and stick with the work.

I keep mentioning the “rock-bottom” factor and I keep talking about how that rock-bottom never comes for those who are functional! This is also a fact, because those who can “pass” as sane, together, normal, productive and successful on the outside, will generally not only fool the majority, but also find plenty of enablers who won’t hold them accountable, because they haven’t really destroyed their own life. The fact that they are hurting and/or destroying those around them is usually swept under the carpet, because who wants to take the risk to actually confront them, when a) they won’t hear a word you’re saying anyway and b) there are plenty of those who don’t open their mouth, which means you are the one with the problem. As we know, the measure of what is acceptable is reached via statistics and the majority (which tend to be enablers in these cases) is not saying a word.

Watching the dynamics of such “crazy” people has made me much more selective about the company I keep. Having to cater my communication style and level of honesty to certain individuals who simply cannot be honest with themselves or others is too much work for me. Instead of constantly having to be a chameleon, I choose to rather spend time and space with those who will actually hear me from the place I am coming from, versus individuals who are being triggered by their own defense mechanisms designed to protect the many layers of denial they are in.

It is very difficult for me to understand denial at its finest. No matter how deep I found myself in denial, numbers would always wake me up. If one person tells me a thing, well, consider the source, but if 5, 10 or more people keep telling me the same, if my relationships or friendships are failing for the same reasons, year after year, maybe I need to take a closer look at what my role in all of it is.

I am learning to accept that intellect has nothing to do with being “enlightened,” or self-aware. I am also learning that nature seems to have put some strange rule in place, where highly intelligent people are often complete, social retards and utterly useless when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I prefer people who have a rich inner life, in both, heart and head. Sadly, it seems that kind is rare to find. Meanwhile, all I can do is invite people to take close stock of their life. Maybe that which you are guarding and protecting so closely by sticking your head in the sand is really not that worth guarding?

It all boils down to one simple questions: Are you happy? If not, maybe it’s time to start looking for the answers within, instead of searching for them, or worse, expecting them from an external source. But then, being unhappy is sometimes so much easier to do than actual holding oneself accountable and taking full responsibility. Because when all the BS is stripped down and you look at yourself in the mirror and start seeing yourself for who you really are, it might actually get scary or painful for a while and we all know that we are a society that is about nothing but instant gratification, total lack of integrity and utter unwillingness to really do the work.

So all I can do is simply avoid those “smart” people who will never get it on a interpersonal level and therefore never learn or evolve. For those who choose a drama free and happy life, I’d suggest to do the same!

Moving from Dark to Light

The path of “darkness” is the easiest path, because it is the path of least resistance. This is why it is much more tempting to keep doing the wrong thing. Plus, in our current society there aren’t too many consequences to doing the wrong thing, because there are many other like-minded individuals who are on the same path of least amount of work for the highest payout possible. It is easy to play the blame game and even easier to remain in a lovely bubble of denial and illusion. I would almost say that “dark” is the default mode of human beings, because by design we are wired to “go with the flow” and swim downstream, as well as exercise power over those we perceive as weaker and seek out those who support us in our illusions. We are herds in which the most persuasive pack leaders form the opinions of the followers. This is also how wars are fought, how dictators succeed, how kings ruled and how atrocious crimes are committed. 

The path of “light” on the other hand, wards no quick successes. It requires hard work, constant reflection and self-awareness; being open minded and hearted and always trying to grow, while seeking out truth. There is nothing quick or easy about it. The individuals traveling on this path are much harder to find, don’t usually flock together and hardly ever travel with the herd. Unfortunately, they don’t really stand out that often either. They are usually unnoticed, because they are not that driven by ego; hence, they are not the squeaky wheels who make the most noise or appear/dress the loudest. And lastly, they don’t really claim enlightenment, certain abilities or above status, because there is no need for that (think the Dalai Lama, Ghandi or Mother Theresa). They carried/carry a light so big that it requires no explanation at all. 

I cannot claim enlightenment and I am certainly not even close to a Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa. While I have tried from childhood on to travel the path of light, I have often failed and still at times fail miserably. When one is born and raised surrounded by darkness, it is very difficult to not let it become part of your being. We take on the attributes of that which surrounds us most of the time. This is what creates cycles that continue throughout generations. This is also why “like-minded individuals” attract each other. 

My darkness consisted of fear, sadness, anger and regret. I had no ability to let go and I was so jealous of those who belonged to any group. I failed miserably in any type of clique or group setting. I mimicked their behaviors and still couldn’t pass for one of them, which caused more anger and more hurt within me. The pain, anger and fear I carried would make me swing wildly from being extremely strong and self-sufficient, to completely needy and weak. Life felt like one large sprint. I would run at 200 mph, then crash and burn, crawling at snail’s speed. I would learn certain lessons at the speed of light, jump from one level of evolution to the next within a week, and then not get other lessons at all, plateauing for years without any movement. 

How did I get out of this hole and off the path of self-destruction? I guess it started with replacing the dark parts with light parts. I still had my ability to instinctively recognize light, so I would try to seek it out. The more I found examples of those traveling that path, the more I wanted it for myself. I wanted the peace of mind they seemed to sport. I wanted the joy and balance they seemed to experience most of the time, no matter what was thrown at them. I reevaluated who I was all the time and never stopped. I found some people who served as role models and kept me straight. After a while I knew when I was dwelling on the wrong side and when I was not. 

It’s like learning to play the guitar. When you first start out you cannot really hold a tune, your fingers cramp and bleed and you are pretty far from making actual music. But the more you practice, the easier it becomes, until one day you are playing songs. The path of light for me is like learning the guitar. At times I still strike the wrong cord and my song sounds more like nails over a chalk board. My fingers are hurting and cramping and there are times when I want to give up, because “I’ll never be able to play like a true artist.” The work is miserable too. I spend hours in the gym and in therapy, practicing my new found skills in everyday life, while desperately trying to not fall back into my old ways, which are still very ingrained and persuasive. I read a lot again; watch less fluff and more educational programs.
In order to keep on the path I had to shed some of the baggage that was keeping me in the dark and there was nothing easy about that either. It was painful and difficult and wanted to make me give up more than anything else. Adding, in form of a trainer and therapist was easy; letting go of old ways and people who no longer served my well-being was heart-breaking. As I said in the beginning, I could not let go of anyone or anything. 

I still second guess myself a lot. Courtesy of my old wiring. I still want to rekindle old friendships with people who have hurt me, walked out on me, betrayed me or simply were really shitty friends. I still loop at times about these individuals, re-feel the pain and blame myself for their behavior. However, these incidences have become less frequent. When I have a hard day or need to “cool off,” I go to the gym and do cardio. I will literally incline the treadmill up to the highest level, 15, and climb the mountain, literally and figuratively speaking. Or I sit in the steam room or sauna; go swimming for a few rounds or get a manicure. Sometimes I watch a kid’s DVD (I bought the 75 Year Anniversary Box Set of The Wizard of Oz), or go to the movies and watch the newest kid’s flick. Two days ago I was at Starbucks in the morning and played puppet show for my husband with one of the stuffed Christmas mice they had for sale. I bought him (his name is Huxley) and he is sitting on my desk now. 

Doing the right thing and staying on the right path is hard work and yet, it has been the most rewarding journey thus far. More times than not I actually do wake up smiling. I sing a lot these days, I am much goofier and I sure as hell literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is said that ignorance is bliss. This might be true on some level. Turns out though, there is more bliss to be experienced when one is actually aware, instead of ignorant 🙂

How to Fire Those Who Harm You

This is a blog request from my friend Jude. He wanted to know how to get rid of “bad” friends, because when it comes to getting rid of them, “I am such a coward.”

Let me start out by saying that we all are cowards when it comes to getting rid of anyone whom we have an emotional investment in! The longer we have known them, the harder it is going to be to get rid of them; and unless you are heartless bastard it’s just never going to be pleasant to kick someone out of your life. Because as human beings we tend to often be loyal to time and not the person. So let point out some of the important things to consider when walking away from a “bad” person, i.e. someone who keeps hurting, disappointing and harming you, instead of adding anything positive.

  1. Know what the reaction will be
    They are not going to be pleased with what you have to say, or will not hear anything you say at all, and therefore act in the following ways:
    Denial – I never said/did that! You don’t understand. This is not what I meant. It’s not my fault. I can’t change that. It’s not my problem.
    Passive aggressive – talking behind your back, saying things to others they know will get back to you, never addressing you personally
    Attack/defensive/victim – I can’t believe you would  be this disrespectful/mean/harsh, etc. when I am so hurt/weak/sick/sad/depressed. I am doing the best I can. I am trying. It is not my fault. I have no control over any of it.
  2. Release your attachment
    No argument, no tone of voice, or any way of rational reason will ever change the mind of a toxic person. Why? Because this is what constitutes a toxic person to begin with, a complete and utter lack of self-awareness and the ability to take responsibility for their own actions or words. They are victims and have been wronged, always! Therefore they must point fingers and always accuse others of being at fault to maintain their ability to function and cope. They will never “get it.” Because another notorious part of such people is the inability to learn from their past mistakes or experiences. Instead, they keep repeating the same old pattern, with the same people and no logic, reason or amount of care will change that.
  3. There is no logic
    Another defining characteristic with broken people is the lack of rational thought. Psychology is based on statistics. Most things in life are based on numbers. Not for toxic people. They usually are quite lonely, because most partners/spouses, friends, co-workers, family members, etc. have walked out on them. Where a healthy person can look at their own behavior, analyze and recognize their own role in an argument or situation, a toxic person is never to blame, will always deny or claim they didn’t get why the person left and feel that they didn’t deserve it. They always insist that someone else started it, or did/said something to them. Either way, you will not win any type of rational conversation.
  4. Look at their friends
    The friends who surround toxic people come in three categories: 
    a) short termers – people who haven’t been around for too long (hence, they are not as fed up yet).
    b) People who have known them for a long time and stick due to history (also the ones who usually avoid them as much as possible and are rarely be seen with them)
    c) The type who is exactly like them, i.e. other toxic folks.
    This is because they have successfully alienated and gotten rid of most sane and healthy people.
  5. Be kind and honest but firm!
    There are certain people who will say or do something to you that is so offensive and hurtful that you might lose it. Others take years of wearing you down with their negativity, self-pity, anger, manipulation, etc. But if at all possible, do not bottle up your emotions and suddenly lash out. You have to understand that no matter what angle you choose, they will neither get it, nor apologize, nor understand a single word you are saying anyway. But if you lose it and go off on them, you just gave them more ammo to continue their accusations, whining and victim mode, not to mention that you just gave them more ammo to receive more sympathy from the herd. “See! Look at the hurtful words…she/he said to me!”

“Toxic” people are called that because they are mentally unstable and not healthy. Because they have a way of dragging you down with them, it is vital that you keep your own sanity by establishing firm boundaries, by being clear with your intentions and by stating what your actions will be as a result to their behaviors. Once you declare how you feel and what you will do, stand by it! The worst thing you can do is to be wishy-washy or go back on your word. Declare whatever is important to you. Here are a few examples:
“When you behave in x, y, z ways I will not engage in conversation with you.”
“I will not/no longer participate in your game/will not be manipulated by you/etc.”
“If you have nothing nice to say to me, I will hang up on you.”

Remember to state your feelings in a calm and firm manner! Don’t get roped into their emotions, don’t lash out in return and don’t let them pull you back in by trying to get a rise out of you. 

Finally, be prepared for the consequence. You must be aware that your integrity, honesty or care for such a person will not change them or rescue them! This means that when you state how you feel and what you will do as a consequence to their behaviors and words, you will get attacked, sometimes bad-mouthed and there is the possibility that you will never see or hear from that person again, because by design it is actually the toxic person who is a coward!  

If you are not prepared to lose someone for good, no matter how crazy or sick they are making you, you might be better off avoiding them as much as you can and never confronting them. Toxic people have a way of sometimes making your life hell when you try to get rid of them. But know that this will pass. Once they notice that they cannot get a rise out of you and that you will not respond to them, they will have no choice but to give up. Also, a lot of them have a way of quickly finding replacements for you, namely people that are not as challenging as you are and people who will support them in their toxicity. That is ok! If you can look at yourself in the mirror, knowing that you did the best you could, learning to do things differently if you did screw up, you will be fine. Remember that light attracts light, always! And life is too short to waste it on people who are making you miserable and contributing nothing but pain, negativity, worry, anger and hardship to your life.

Narcissists Come in Many Forms

If one wants to look at narcissism from a spiritual point of view, one will find that numerous paths are focused on not being one. For example, studying the Kabbalah in ceremonial magick serves the purpose to overcome one’s ego. I learned within those realms that ego is not always about people who are arrogant and think themselves the best thing ever. Actually, an equally dangerous part of ego is the martyr and eternal victim, and the part of narcissism I’d like to focus on in this blog.

Even though the dictionary defines narcissism as obsessive self-love, narcissism comes in many forms and while it may include self-love, it may also show itself via self-loathing; it is always accompanied by selfishness though. The three most important people for a narcissist are me, myself and I, because they generally lack the social skills, compassion or ability to really focus or care about another.

I am sure that everyone knows at least one person who falls into the category of eternal victim. Their defining characteristic is depression, whilst engaging in endless conversations about their lack of. In their life there is always something amiss; be it money, relationships, friendships, the right job, a car, a house, etc. Their entire life revolves around the things they don’t have and they are never happy, because the list of things they don’t have is endless; year, after year, after year. It never changes because their mantra is “not only do I not have x, y, z, but I will never have it.” As soon as they do, in fact, get one thing on the list, they immediately move their focus back to something they don’t have and hence, the cycle never stops.

I remember when I learned that being a martyr or victim was just another form of ego; I felt even worse once I learned that being the “helper” is also a part of ego. After all, I had done all three of them exceptionally well. There are situations and times where one can genuinely claim being a victim. But when we get older and still keep finding ourselves a victim, day in and day out, we can safely assume that we are the ones creating the misery, not our surroundings!

When we see the train wreck coming and feel compelled to still go there by either forming relationships/friendships with the people we should have avoided, or by engaging in the behaviors that will spell more misery, we are acting no different than an addict. A vast majority of narcissists are co-dependent, even though they may appear fiercely independent. Having an obsessive or compulsive need to keep engaging in destructive ways to oneself or another is what the victim narcissists do exceptionally well. Hence, the bonds they form are either with broken or superficial people. Being addicted to the wrong type is a by-product of being co-dependent!

How does one get out of this cycle? Well, it requires self-realization, above all. There has to be a rock bottom which stops the blame game and shifts the focus on one’s own actions and one’s own role within one’s life. For some people this rock bottom never comes. The addiction to being miserable is too powerful and the circle of people who enable the addict is generally too tight.

However, sometimes rock bottom does come, and when that happens, it tends to occur in form of a powerful knock-you-on-your-butt kind of experience. If you are lucky, you’ll simply wake up one day being tired of continuing the same old cycle. Once rock bottom occurs, the healing process can begin. The first step is seeking help by a professional! The narcissistic voice in the head will claim that one doesn’t need any help, because ego’s active interest is to stay alive and as long as it can blame another, or keep making excuses, its existence is secured.

Leave it to the professionals! There are many tools that help rewiring a faulty hard-drive. These tools include hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, traditional therapy, meditation, and yoga, amongst others. At the end of the day, we all decide the quality of our lives, regardless of what has happened! So within this spirit I am going to quote my daily calendar saying for New Year’s Day, from “Getting in Touch with your Inner Bitch:”

“Your Inner Bitch wishes you “Happy-Do-Over!” There are 365 days to make the life you really want come true – use them wisely!”

10 Ways to Spot a Keeper

Here are the ten common traits sported by a genuinely nice guy, which I consider a “real man:”

  1. They are always willing to help you out. If it is at all in their power, they’ll be there when you need them. No matter if it is for crying, venting, fixing a sink, painting, or moving. Which leads to number 2.
  2. They know the true meaning of friendship. Nice guys not only get the meaning of friendship, but they honor it. This includes that they’ll stand up for you, protect you and respect you. A nice guy never turns on his woman.
  3. They look beneath the surface. Most nice guys have been to the dark side and returned. This means that they’ve had their share of dishonest, crazy or mean women. Even though men are visual, a good guy will not base his relationships solely on superficial things, i.e. the size of a woman’s boobs. There is nothing superficial about a nice guy!
  4. They own up to their shortcomings. All nice guys will always try to take the high road, instead of getting worked up. If they get jealous, or insecure, they may not immediately tell you, but they will let you know…IN A NICE AND RESPECTFUL WAY! Nice guys don’t have a chip on their shoulder.
  5. They are considerate and they respect you. These are still men we are talking about here, so they will probably forget stuff. But, the nice guys will know how much certain things mean to you, i.e. watering the plants, or whatever else is important to you, that couldn’t be more unimportant to him. He does it, because he pays attention, and because he values and respects your needs.
  6. You, your well-being and safety are his top priorities! A few months ago I had to go to the ER. My husband dropped what he was doing, came to pick me up, brought me home and “watched over me.” For the truly nice guy, you are not merely another point on the “to-do-list.”
  7. You can talk to him about anything. Men don’t like discussing feelings. It’s as simple as that. But the good guys acknowledge that most of us women do, and don’t have an issue listening to you. A truly good guy knows that friendship is important in a relationship.
  8. They are secure enough with themselves without being arrogant, and the insecurities they do have are not running rampant. Real men don’t start brawls, they are not paranoid and they don’t project their issues on another.
  9. They don’t look down on others or have superiority complex. A real man doesn’t keep friends for the sake of making himself look better. He doesn’t badmouth his friends or his woman and he doesn’t put blame on everyone else for past failures.
  10. Their heart is open. A real man is neither closed off, nor indifferent, disillusioned, cold, unsympathetic or mean. A good men will have an open heart that has enough room to fit you in. He will not just tell you that he loves you, he will show it!

The most important thing here is that you will not doubt a good guy. This is because he shows his heart and thoughts by his actions. A real man has integrity, is honest and stands by his word. He is the kind of guy people like spending time with. He is by no means perfect, but he always tries do be the best he  can. When he screws up, he doesn’t give up, but he gets back up.

A real man doesn’t ignore you, flirt or drool over others in front of you, doesn’t disrespect you, lie and won’t run at the smallest sign of trouble. Integrity, respect, kindness and honesty are the key words to describe a good guy and a real man! The good guys are simply the opposite of a self-centered, dishonest, insecure and definitely not worthwhile douche!