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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Letting go doesn't mean giving up

Lately I have been focused on the concept of what it really means to let go of people and things in my life.
The other day, I had a profound thought as I was reflecting on people who have dropped out of my life and those who have chosen, for whatever reason, to cut off our relationship. At first, it made me feel angry and a little hurt, but then I had the realization that there is really nothing to be hurt or offended by if a person chooses not to be a part of your life. In fact, they are doing you a favor.
Why would anyone want someone to feel obligated to be in their life? If a person doesn't JOYOUSLY and enthusiastically embrace the friendship or connection, why hang on to it and suffer? LET THEM GO! And let them go with acceptance and peace.
In regard to relationships with others, there is simply no point in trying to "win" someone over or convince them to see your value. If your worth as a person is not seen by another, there is little reason or incentive to have that person in your life. What's the point if their heart is not in it?
We are conditioned to feel fear and hurt when others "reject us". But we must accept that it is healthy and productive to understand that people are different and have conflicting opinions which can impede the ability to form attachments or sustain a relationship. Sometime people simply grow apart; sometimes they have different values, interests or lifestyles. And sometimes, there are obstacles that prevent a connection or bond from forming or continuing.
When relationships and connections end, there is more room for better people and things in our lives. Time is short and filling it with individuals or relationships that are hollow, insincere or without real value is wasteful and useless. It doesn't bring anything to either person's life.
There are circumstances and cases when letting go of emotionally harmful or unavailable relationships or people is the only choice and course of action we can take.
But there are times and circumstances when letting go of relationships or people in our lives is really just a poor excuse for giving up because it involves people we are responsible for, or those who rely on us. Letting go of primary relationships (family), spouses, or lifelong friends due to selfishness, thoughtlessness, pettiness and immaturity is quitting and a breach of trust and respect. Letting go has nothing to do with breaking commitments.
Healthy "letting go" is a process which involves a deep and honest assessment of the situation and a personal inventory of the reasons why someone or something should be cut from your life. Once that process has been thoughtfully and reasonably completed, and it still makes sense to let go of the person or relationship from your life, there should be a feeling of peace and detachment. Letting go should bring value, harmony and respect to your life and it is a healthy and worthy act.
Letting go is a way to say goodbye without resentment, bitterness or anger. Releasing those toxic feelings and emotions, and working toward new and better relationships and people, is one of the cornerstones to a more fulfilling and serene life.

 “Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.”  - Unknown


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Acceptance is the gift you give yourself

"If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Too often we are led to believe that we must fight and rail against everything and anything we don’t like or understand. This can become exhausting and as futile as a 5 year old child’s temper tantrum. Accepting is not about apathy nor is it about failure. Acceptance is about embracing that which is, that which can’t be changed, that which must be endured.

Wikipedia says- “Acceptance is a person's agreement to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

Acceptance as a concept appears in Eastern religious concepts such as Buddhist mindfulness, and in human psychology. Religions and psychological treatments often suggest the path of acceptance when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state.”
Within Christian beliefs acceptance is characterized as forgiveness.
In the Muslim community, acceptance of Allah as their higher being is similar to people that are considered Christian and how they accept God as their higher being (Bates, 2002) .
As for Judaism it has showed to have some similar beliefs in that they accept the Ten Commandments as a way to live and have a good and fulfilling life (Mcdowell and Stewart, 1983). Beliefs can be used in different ways to be related to acceptance especially in everyday life although beliefs may be more based on religion.
Beliefs and acceptance overlap, however, they can be very diverse. The acceptance of ones beliefs is important to show commitment and structure of ones life. Not only is it vital for survival it is a utility that is used in everyday relationships. For a single person to be accepted from a friend of theirs has shown to have an impact on an individual’s self esteem and well being. In fact, without the acceptance could lead to psychological issues.”

Whether acceptance is driven by one’s personal beliefs, religious motivation or intellectual process, there is great peace and comfort which can be gained by its practice. It is important to understand that acceptance is not about hopelessness. Quite the contrary, it is about trusting and tolerating in a positive and mature way. Acceptance is a path to peace and inner harmony.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."
- Joseph Campbell

Sometimes acceptance is the best we can hope for. It shouldn’t have a negative connotation. Acceptance takes great strength and even more bravery. It is NOT about giving up or giving in.
It is about enduring and recognizing. Acceptance takes great wisdom and character.

Monday, October 10, 2011

“Crazy bloggers” may think their content is popular, but it’s all about schadenfreude

Has America become the home of the crazy and inappropriate? What happened to admiring people with character and boundaries? Apparently, for a growing segment of our society, crazy is the new brilliant. There is a trend towards admiring abnormal, obnoxious and dysfunctional behavior. Case in point, note this article in Forbes Magazine, “Why crazy people make better bloggers.”  You don’t say?  Sorry, I’m not buying it.
The author’s reasons, in a nutshell are:
1. We’ll say what you won’t.
2. We speak the truth.
3. We’re more entertaining.

And now I will state my rebuttal to this premise.

I am so confused by reason #1, I had to re-read it a few times to fully digest the concept. It is depressing that we have come to a point in our civilization where people have come to believe that just because you CAN say something, you SHOULD say something. I vehemently disagree with that entire concept. I am an extremely open and candid person. Some people would even say outspoken. BUT, I maintain sensible and healthy boundaries and limits. I admire transparency and openness, but there are many, many things that should not be shared in a public forum, especially a blog. (See my other posting on a similar topic To blog or not to blog )
I love that we live in a free nation and we have the ability to say just about anything we want to; but we have gone to an extreme level of personal information sharing that much of our society have started to become desensitized to outrageously inappropriate  content- on their televisions, in blogs and articles, and in “real life”.

Bullet #2, is also very disingenuous. Truth?

Here is how Webster defines the word:

Sincerity in action, character, and utterance
(1) : the state of being the case : fact
(2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality
(3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions

So, I suppose by definition, a “crazy” person would certainly not always have a very clear concept of TRUTH. They may have their own truth, but I doubt that any rational person would believe that a mentally unstable individual would be someone who is capable of understanding what truth really is.
And last, but not least, #3, which makes the claim that crazy or unstable individuals are more entertaining. I thought long and hard about that one. I supposed for people who love chaos, thrive on drama and embrace madness- yes, a crazy blogger would certainly be more entertaining.
Is that the reason people are reading blogs? Isn’t that what television shows, ala Jerry Springer, “The Real Housewives of here and there”, “Desperate Housewives”, any daytime soap opera or “The Jersey Shore” are for? Those shows are supposed to be “entertaining” with all the crazy and drama anyone could possibly absorb without having to go on medication themselves. If you want a fix of crazy, any of those programs will give you a front row seat.
I love that line in the Jack Nicholson film, As Good as It Gets - “Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.” Do most people really need more “crazy” in their lives?  I know I don’t.
The last place I want to see crazy is in a blog. I love reading blogs that are funny, clever, honest, thoughtful, inspiring and give me something to think about. When I go “blog shopping”, the LAST thing I am looking for is crazy. To me crazy does not bring a good image to mind.
Here are a few definitions of the word:
full of cracks or flaws : unsound  crooked, askew
being out of the ordinary
distracted with desire or excitement
passionately preoccupied : obsessed

Another article which got some attention last spring was an article in Vanity Fair, which USA Today covered‘Robert  Pattinson admires Charlie Sheen: 'I like crazy people...'  
 and He tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales that he admires Charlie Sheen and his "little escapades," explaining, "I like crazy people who don't give a f---."
Frankly, I don’t believe he would enjoy being related to Mr. Sheen or any other person who doesn’t “give a f---“for very long. They tend to wear out relationships and go through friends rather quickly. There is hardly anything entertaining about a psychotic, madman on a path to self-destruction. But I digress.
To sum up, I don’t believe crazy should ever become a “virtue” or be celebrated as some kind of wonderful, fun, truthful or valuable condition. Most of the time, it is exhausting, confusing, erratic and pitiful.

My feeling is that the one and only reason people enjoy reading blogs written by “crazy” people is the same reason they enjoy watching crazy people on television. In one word, it is called schadenfreude. It isn’t a compliment and it isn’t a reason to write a blog filled with mad ramblings or telling all of your personal business. It makes people feel better about themselves because YOUR crazy is so much crazier than THEIRS.