Finding Freedom from Fear and Anxiety

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In today’s article I would like to share an awareness that I had that may be helpful to you. Several days ago, during and after a phone conversation I found myself agitated at the person. The morning after the phone call, I wrote them a letter and was preparing to mail that letter later in the day to tell them what they needed to do to avert my fear and anxiety in the future. But as the day moved  on, I had an uneasy feeling about mailing the letter.

In response to my uneasiness, I took the letter out of the sealed and stamped envelope and re-read what I had written to the individual. As I read the letter, I realized that I was reacting out of my own fear and anxiety. With my awareness, I realized that the fear and anxiety that I was experiencing was my responsibility and not the other person’s responsibility – who I was set to make responsible and blame for my fear and anxiety in my letter.

With my awareness, I realized that sending the letter would not resolve my feeling fearful and anxious, but would only perpetuate my fear and anxiety. Nothing would be resolved. I subsequently decided to tear up the letter and throw it away. I am glad that I made the decision to own my fear and anxiety, as it prevented a rift from developing between the other person and myself. By owning my reaction, I was able to find and maintain peace.

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” T. S. Eliot

The above awareness reminded me that as I take responsibility for my fear and anxiety — instead of shifting the blame for my fear and anxiety — I find freedom from my fear and anxiety. By owning responsibility for my fear and anxiety, I give myself the ability to be empowered by the trigger, that set off my fear and anxiety; and by the fear and anxiety that I experienced through my interaction with the individual.

Through owning, examining and by making the decision to keep the focus on myself; I was able to deactivate the trigger, so that I could begin to manage my fear and anxiety.

Through owning, examining and deactivating the trigger, by owning the responsibility for my fear and anxiety; I was able to stop feeling victimized by my fear and anxiety.

Through owning the responsibility for my trigger, fear and anxiety, I was able to prevent a rift from forming in the relationship and in the process maintain peace in my relationship.

Today’s Thought

In the event that you find yourself agitated by someone, take a step back. Examine why you are feeling agitated by them. Examine the trigger that brought about your agitation.

By doing so you may find that you will be able to deactivate the trigger and take away the power of your agitation, fear and anxiety. In the process, you will stop feeling victimized.

By taking responsibility for your trigger, fear and anxiety you will prevent a rift from forming in your relationship. By taking responsibility,  you will maintain peace in your relationship.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015

The Illusion of Resentment — Am I Lying to Myself?

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One of the most disparaging things we can do to ourselves is to hang onto and nurture resentments. Resentments give the illusion of control and power. That some how being resentful, angry and bitter is going to help, save or even protect us. But the illusion of resentment in reality serves to distracts us from realizing that resentment, anger and bitterness only serve to eat away at us like a cancer, stealing life; like a thief in the night,.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Carrie Fisher

“Bitterness and resentment only hurt one person, and it’s not the person we’re resenting – it’s us.” Alana Stewart

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned.” Author unknown

Although wounds may be minimized and even disregarded, like an infection that goes untreated, will lead to further complications. Resentments effectively work to  block emotional, spiritual and physical energy. Resentment serves to distract. Resentment,  in their wake; bring about destruction. Resentments, like lava; smolder beneath the surface; oozing out at unpredictable and unexpected times adversely — impacting lives and relationships.

But there is good news. I have found that resentments can be checked and resolved through a process. The process involves being honest with myself, taking the time to examine who I am resentful at, the cause of my resentment, how the resentment impacts my — self-esteem, personal relationships, finances, material goods, security, ambitions and my emotional well-being — and what part my motives played in the formation of my resentments.

Examining and resolving my resentments empower my ability to forgive both myself and other people. Examining and resolving resentments help me to stop fighting against myself. Examining and resolving resentments help me to stop lying to myself.  Examining and resolving resentments free the internal energy that I used to lie to  myself. Examining and resolving resentments empower my ability to take effective action to  create hope in my life.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” Peter Drucker

 As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015

Empowering Relationships through Detachment

White Sands 2010

In the process of living, social dynamics are inevitable. When two individuals interact, challenges can ensue. These challenges often arise when expectations become apparent as a friendship or relationship develops. These expectations may be connected to a fear of either losing something they have or not getting something they want out of the relationship. Fear can then motivate each person to try and control the other person through manipulation. Manipulation may occur because one or both parties believes that control will result in the fulfillment of their expectations.

Although control and manipulation may temporarily force a solution, the long-term consequence of such a dynamic undermine and weaken the relationship.

In the event that these expectations are not satisfied, resentments may become an insidious factor in the relationship. If these resentments are not addressed, a power struggle may become an integral part of the relationship — as each person jockeys to have their expectations met. Passive-aggressive behaviors may then be used to side step being controlled or manipulated. The foundation of the relationship may begin to crack under the weight of such resentments and behavior. Consequently, apart from one or both parties using the principle of detachment, the relationship may eventually break and crumble.

Through being personally accountable and responsible for one’s expectation (s) and subsequent resentment (s), the relationship provides an environment where each person can learn about themselves. Self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration then replace control and manipulation. As control and manipulation are replaced, with self-awareness and self-acceptance; a new setting is established where the individual and the relationship can be empowered. A setting that allows the individual to explore and give of themselves,  through a place of self-awareness, acceptance and respect.

Through growing in self-knowledge, awareness and self-respect, I then am able to give and show compassion to both myself and other people. As I show compassion, to both myself and other people, I am able to practice detachment. As I practice detachment, through compassion; I am able to give and receive with out expectation. As I give and receive with out expectation, I am free to learn from the relationship. My mind then remains open, instead of closed. As my mind remains open, to learn from and through the relationship; the relationship is empowered by mutual self-awareness, knowledge, acceptance and respect.

As each person with in the relationship remains accountable and responsible for themselves, empowering one another with in the relationship become a way of life.

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015.


 

Recovery and Hope

As I have lived my life I have come to realize that life is about a process and a journey, not a destination. I like and find helpful visual metaphors. One such visual metaphor is a jigsaw puzzle that is laid out on a large table to be put together one piece at a time. Separately, each puzzle piece makes little sense to the scheme of the completed puzzle, but once each piece is put into place, more becomes obvious. So it is with life. Life is made up of many puzzle pieces that do not become clear until the time is right. Once the time is right, both the puzzle piece and the space is revealed to be set and put in place. Individually, each puzzle piece makes little sense, but when the time is right, make perfect sense.

Understanding the metaphor of the jigsaw puzzle can help the individual in their process of recovery. What I mean by recovery is examining and working through matters that get in the way that create stress in my life. Stress that distracts me and keeps me focused on other people and what they should or should not be doing so that I can be happy and content. What I mean by recovery is learning how to identify stressors and how those stressors impact my ability to have a healthy relationship with both myself  and other people. Recovery for me is learning how to face, address and overcome various stressors that impede my ability to experience hope, empowerment and freedom in my life.

Through becoming aware — through a recovery process of self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration — I am able to grow in awareness, acceptance and action. As I grow in my recovery process through self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration, I grow in my ability to have functional and healthy relationship with both myself and with other people. Through growing in awareness, acceptance and action through self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration I grow in my creative capacity to be of service to other people in functional ways. As I grow in my recovery process through self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-explorations, I grow in my capacity to create and share hope in and through my life.

Through my recovery process of self-discovery, Self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration I discovered that to have a functional relationship with myself and other people I needed to have a  healthy relationship with hope, before I could begin to open, move through the door of hope, confront my denial, recognize factors that distract, realize how the drama was impacting my life, begin to own my reality, grasp that I no longer had to give my power away, keep from falling back into a victim role, breaking free from isolation and the benefit of having healthy boundaries. I would invite you to click on each of the highlighted links to find out what I discovered that helped and continues to help me in my recovery process. As questions arise, please send them to me. Thank you.

Make Peace with Your Past, so that Your Past Does Not Spoil Your Present

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015.

The Benefit of Having Healthy Boundaries

My concept of boundaries was non-existent until I began to understand the need to have  my own life. For many years of my life, my concept of boundaries was limited to what separated one state from another state. When it came to having, respecting or even understanding how boundaries factored into relationships, I was clue-less. The notion of my needing to have, set or maintain healthy boundaries seemed ludicrous and pretentious.

Enmeshment was the manner in which people related to one another. Consequently, where I ended and other people began was blurred. Because I did not respect my own need to have boundaries, I developed a series of limiting behaviors. These limiting behaviors reinforced my distorted perceptions and led me to believe that boundaries were merely obstacles to be overcome. Control and manipulation preceded the need to have and respect boundaries.

I have heard said that healthy boundaries are not meant to keep people out of our lives, but healthy boundaries are meant to keep me in my life.

My distorted perceptions also kept me guessing at what was normal. Consequently, for much of my life, I felt like a blind man, who kept bumping into different walls. As a result, any adjustment came with pain, because I did not recognize the need to have boundaries. As my emotional and spiritual pain increased, so did my willingness to look for solutions. My recovery process, brought me to a place of awareness — that something needed to change.

Setting and having healthy boundaries are about being responsible and accountable to ourselves and to other people, while allowing other people to be responsible and accountable for themselves. Setting and having healthy boundaries is about being responsible to other people, but not responsible for other people and their choices.

My awareness revealed that I needed to both value and respect boundaries. Both my boundaries and other people’s boundaries. To respect where I begin and other people end and where other people end and I begin, as we each live our lives. Boundaries help me to understand what is my responsibility and what is not my responsibility. Boundaries help me to realize that I am not responsible for another persons’ recovery or lack of recovery.

Through my recovery process I discovered, that by attempting to keep another persons’ side of the street clean; I stunted both their and my ability to grow as an individual.

Through understanding the need to have healthy boundaries, at least at first acknowledging the need to have healthy boundaries; I began to realize that I could indeed create a life for myself. Through then having and respecting boundaries (both mine and other people’s’) I found that the (my)  energy, once used to  vicariously  please and resolve other people’s responsibilities; was now freed to give me the ability to create hope, in and through my life.

“Much of the time, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.” Melody Beattie

“To have and respect healthy boundaries is to know yourself.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015.

Coming Out of Isolation to Create Hope in Our Lives

In my previous articles I have spoken to issues that I believe are important to being able to create hope in our lives. Among theses are examining my relationship with hope, opening and moving through the door of hope, the need to confront denial, recognizing factors that seek to keep me from moving through the door, the impact of drama on hope, addressing generational messages that hinder hope, how to avoid bullying, owning our reality and not giving away our power.

In today’s article, I would like to speak to what I believe is essential to the process of creating hope in our lives. We don’t have to figure it out on our own.  We can learn how to create hope in our lives by identifying with other people. Through realizing that I am not alone in the process of creating hope, I am able to open and move through the doors of hope, confront denial, make better choices, avoid being bullied, stop giving up my power to other people, places and things and stop believing that I am a victim of my circumstances.

The following is what I learned through: coming out of isolation, identifying with other people and creating hope in my life.  

As I seek to identify with other people, I find that I am able to move out of the shadows of isolation and become comfortable in my own skin. Identification gives me the ability to love and accept myself. Identification helps me to celebrate my worth and value as an individual. Identification helps me to learn how trust in the process, a loving God and myself. Identification helps me to understand and experience comfort, courage and hope. Identification helps me to stop fighting against myself. Identification helps me to be myself.

Identification motivates me to not give up in the face of adversity. Identification empowers contribution, Identification encourages progress. Identification celebrates small successes, Identification encourages individuality and inspires self-expression. Identification cultivates creativity. Individuality is not considered a threat. Status quo is dismissed. Identification frees from a fear of failure. Identification musters enthusiasm in the face of any discouragement or disillusionment. Alienation is dismissed. Eccentricity is held in esteem.

Identification breaks down the walls of isolation. Self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth no longer need  be qualified. Value and ability is accepted at face value. Identification seeks to reconcile.  Identification celebrates awareness. Identification encourages acceptance and action. As I seek to identify with others, I practice love and tolerance. Identification frees my ability to explore outside of comparison’s “box”. Identification encourages hope. Identification empowers promise. Identification motivates process and possibility.

Progress is accepted as a function of seeking to accept both others and one self. As I love and accept myself, I am free to be at peace with myself. Identification encourages love and tolerance. Identifications dispels my need to judge. Identification gives me the permission to take risks and to scrape my knees, as I learn from my process. Identification encourages a pursuit of excellence, not perfection. Identification frees me to stay in the moment. Identification empowers my ability to dream dreams, to create hope and to pursue my destiny,

“Identification creates hope in our lives as we connect the dots.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015.

How to Keep from Falling Back into a Victim Role

In yesterday’s article, Owning Our Reality — No longer a Victim I spoke to 3 rules that need to be broken to be able to heal and create hope. In today’s article, I would like to share what I discovered that occurs when I lapse back into denying my reality. The below are “red flags”. When I notice that the below is occurring in my life, I know that I need to take an inventory.  I need to take an inventory to determine why I have forgotten that I have the power to choose.

Don’ Talk
This rule is often burned into the subconscious of the individual through threat of reprisal. The individual has to live their life from the lie based on the denial inherent in the secret or conflict. The secret is more often than not connected to shame and guilt. The secret becomes more valuable that the individuals. Shame and guilt perpetuate the denial that debilitate the individual. Denial promotes dysfunction in an attempt to justify the secret or conflict. With in a family that promotes the Don’t Talk rule, each member assumes or is given a role to mask the secrets or conflicts.

Don’ Trust
This rule isolates the individual from the help that could be found to resolve the conflict. The individual also learns to trade their judgment for the judgment of other people. When the individual does not trust their judgment, they become vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals. The individual becomes conditioned to accepting abuse from and by the judgment of other people. As the abuse continues the individual internalize the reasons for the abuse as being their fault. The abuse confirms that they can not trust themselves or their judgment.

Don’t Feel
This rule alienates the individual from them selves. When the individual discards the part of themselves that connects them to their creativity, they slowly die from the inside out. Feelings are the mechanisms that connect our soul to our spirit, which in turn enables us to interpret our environment (Please read, A Tool from my Toolbox). When I feel, my brain connects with my heart, which makes me unique. In families where feelings are considered a threat, the individual learns to shut down emotionally. Feelings are often seen as a threat because they are connected to an unresolved conflict or secret. In many dysfunctional group settings feelings are also minimized and discouraged for this very reason.

The Consequences

Each of these rules undermine the quality of life. Each of these rules diminish the individual.

Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, and Don’t Feel keep the individual from discovering their authentic creative self. If I am sworn to secrecy or told that I can not trust anyone, including myself:

I will see no value in feeling my feelings.
I will become a reactor, rather than an actor in my life.
I will believe that life is merely a gauntlet of obstacles to overcome and struggles to survive.
I will become preoccupied with people pleasing and approval seeking and I will not think outside the box (Please read my post, Are You Living In a Box?)
I will be in a constant state of anxiety without knowing how to stop the madness.
I will buy into the notion that someone is to blame. Personal responsibility will be replaced with control and manipulation.
I will believe I am a victim of my circumstances and an heir to misery.
I will not look for solutions, but will be satisfied with being abused.
I will seek to justify my behavior because I am not at fault.
I will live my life in quiet desperation, because I have no hope.
I will see myself as a statistic, rather than as an empowered being.
I will believe that I am responsible for rather than to other people.
I will not develop faith in a power greater than my self, because no one can be trusted.
I will seek out drama to feel alive.
I will never be satisfied with life. Good will never be, good enough.

I will seek to be involved in relationships that perpetuate my despondency.

I will remain in denial and trade the truth for a lie.

I will seek to stymie anyone that makes me feel my feelings.

I will merely exist.

As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Create a Spark of Hope, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Create a Spark of Hope. Thank you. Copyright 2015.