Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Daily Reflections: the pitfalls of the comparison habit

I think one of the things that we learn as children is comparing ourselves to others.  

Maybe our parents started the trend, by saying things like: 
- “why can’t you be more like….”  Or 
- “look at how well ….. is doing.”  

These messages somehow stick as we grow up and we internalize them.  Once we internalize them we become our own worst critic.  We start to compare ourselves to others and find all the different ways we don’t compare favorably.  

It is a vicious circle, we feel bad when we compare ourselves to others so we do more of it and more of it always coming up short and soon we lose all sense of self-worth.  

At some point in time, for our own mental well-being, we have to stop this cycle, to move away from comparisons to celebrations of our victories. 

We need to learn to redirect those false habits that no longer serve and create new ones that serve to create wholeness within us. Sometimes that means totally relearning the internal habits of a lifetime, especially if we carried this childhood pattern forward into our adult life. 

Thought for today:
where do I still cling to the false patterns of comparing myself to others?

Renate Dundys Marrello 
2017 - 06 - 09

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Post Estrangement: the Dilemma of Forgiveness

Quote:  "Weigh the true advantages of forgiveness and resentment to the heart. Then choose."
~ Jack Kornfield

On my healing journey what has kept me focused on finding a way toward forgiveness is the weight of resentment, bitterness, grudge bearing and unforgiveness have upon my soul. 

Always when I felt those negative emotions growing in my heart I found myself feeling betrayed by my own thoughts and a heaviness would weigh me down in a dark place.  When I weighed the true cost of remaining in that place I recognized that the price was too high, for it means sacrificing the values that I aspire to as a human being.  I don’t want to live down to other people’s standards; I want to live up to my own perceptions of what a good person ought to do.

The only way forward for me was to work on those aspects of my response to sorrow diligently. No wonder healing is such a hard journey, when most of the time I have to fight against my own dark side, my need for vengeance, justice, payback.

To let go of the resentment and bitterness, to not be burdened by a grudge and to find a way to forgive is to fight that inner darkness that says, “they don’t deserve to be forgiven”.

In order for me to like who I become in the process of healing I have had to learn how to separate the person from the deed.  The next step was seeing the person as a hurting, lost child of the Divine, and to then forgive that lost soul and pray for their healing as well as my own.  

It is when I pray for their healing, that I am most closely in tune with the kind of loving person I want to be.  For my own healing I pray that I can feel that way more often.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 – 06 – 06 

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Friday, May 5, 2017

post estrangement: coming to understand aggressive behaviour

Learning to recognize actions that are wrong
and then speaking out, saying that it was unacceptable
is the first step to letting others know you will no longer tolerate such actions against you.

“all tyranny, bigotry, aggression, and cruelty are wrong and whenever we see it we must never be silent” 
~ Ingrid Newkirk

Far too often we think that all the evil and cruelty in the world is "out there" somewhere.  Out in the streets of an impoverished neighbourhood, in another country where there are injustices, in another place where there are ancient grievances still being rehashed generations later.

However even within our own personal lives, within our relationships with family, friends and co-workers there lurks the tyranny of aggression and cruelty also.  It is well camoflagued often with the flowery words of "I do this out of love" or "it is for your own good".  And because of the disguise we fail to recognize that hurt or if we recognize that emotional hurt, we flagellate ourselves for being too sensitive and we tell ourselves how wrong we are for feeling put down and being made to feel shamed and guilty when after all it was done with the best of intentions.

But healing is about learning to recognize actions that are wrong.  Simply because a verbal aggression has been justified as coming from a loving place does not make it less aggressive.

The cruelty of unkind, demeaning or belittling words is not diminished because the speaker of them professes to be doing it for our own good.

The bigotry of insisting on one set of rules for themselves and a different set of rules for us, is not lost because they are spoken by a family member!

The tyranny of being expected to be something for someone else to the detriment of what is good for ourselves is not ameliorated by the after thought "but it is for your own good."

When we experience wrong actions or hurtful words we have to learn to not only unmask them from the flowery sentiments used to justify them, we need to recognize them as bullying and aggressive behaviours perpetrated upon us in the name of love. 

We need to recognize that if the intent had been to show love we would feel love and not emotional pain and rejection.  When you feel the accusation of "you are not good enough" there is a reason.  The reason is that you have been told in some disguised form that you are not good enough. 

Maybe there was a sneer on the face or some other micro expression that delved deep into you psyche letting you know that the tidbit of corrective information was not meant as a loving suggestion but as a gleeful criticism of your inadequacy.

Maybe it was their body language that showed the separation of "me up here superior and you down there inferior".  Whatever triggered that feeling of "not good enough" it came through.  Your gut reacted, that deep primal part of you recognized it, even when the present you tried to deny that any offense happened, that you are just overreacting.

Our first step is to learn that when we feel emotionally hurt there was an intention to inflict that emotional hurt.  We have to stop denying this and thus protecting the aggressor.  There was some need in the "hurter" that was satisfied with delivering the hurting message.  As long as we deny that, we continue to be hurt by the same people over and over again becasue of the simple expedient, what they got away with once they have now learned they can get away with it again.

We have to learn that they won't change a behaviour that has been giving them good results until we change.

We have to learn that we have a right to speaking out and say, "that was unacceptable."  We have a right to say "I don't buy your excuses anymore".  We have to say "I see through your words because your actions are the exact opposite"

We, the acquiescing doormats, the perpetual people pleasers, the conflict avoiders have to take that first step to letting others know we will no longer tolerate such actions against us.  For if we don't change, if we don't set a higher standard of what we will tolerate, if we don't set personal boundaries of acceptable behaviour towards us; then those whose personality it is to be tyrannical bullies, even well meaning disguised tyrannical bullies; will continue their aggressive cruelty with impunity. 

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 - 05 - 04

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Daily Reflection: How does one connect to the relevant?

How do we let others know we find their thoughts and ideas relevant?

In a day and age of impersonal social media how does one stay in touch with reactions, quality, and meaning? Are we helpful or redundant? Are we contributing or wasting our time and energy?

In face to face contact we read facial expressions and body language.
When speaking with someone we can register their comments and their feedback.

On social media we voice our thoughts, our concerns, our motivation and our aspirations into a void.
Is what we have to say even reaching anyone?  
If we are reaching anyone do they even care?

The exercise of communication is to interact with others. However, when we don't even know for certain if we have made a connection, are we deceiving ourselves that what thoughts are important to us, when shared even matter to others?

One must inevitably consider the possible futility of randomly connecting. When our reaching out becomes a random attempt to communicate with others about the essence of experiences; about the nature and quality of life; the question becomes is our message only reaching the cosmic void?

What we experience in life matters.  It shapes our perspective.  Sharing our perspective offers us opportunities to learn from the experiences of others and sometimes make adjustments to our own habitual responses.  What if our perspective is way off base and we continue down an errant path because no one points out a better road?  What if we make a break through and no one is there to celebrate and encourage? 

It is when I ask questions like this that I realize that social media can either enhance us or isolate us.  When we engage in conversations, when we have feedback and different points of view we are connecting, growing, learning being a part of something greater than ourselves.  However, when we spill our thoughts into the void with no response, with no critical feedback, with no alternate points of view; we become more isolated than before the arrival of social media. 

It is then that we have to wonder if social media is contributing to or detracting from the essence of our humanity, our ability to connect in a meaningful way with others. 

Is social media training us to become experts in non communication?

Renate Dundys Marrello

2017 - 04 - 13

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Monday, March 20, 2017

My Daily Reflection: Listening to understand

To understand another person requires listening.....

Really listening with the intention of understanding not with the intention of making a rebuttal.

And yet for the most part, in most conversations, I find people listen with only one intention, to find a opening where they can insert their point of view or their story.

How often I come away from a conversation feeling unheard and then I wonder why there was no connection made with the person I was speaking with. 

I remember the old saying "people like to talk about themselves so when there is a lull in the conversation ask a question about them."  As a good listener I have learnt so much about others using this technique.

Here is the strange bit though that I have discovered; most people are not good listeners.  Most people do not ask me questions to discover more about me. My interest in others most often seems to be one sided. 

No wonder I feel more isolated and alone in the company of others.  For the real me, the me that pours out in my written work is never heard in conversation. 

My thoughts and opinions are almost never solicited.  And even when I am asked my opinion I am cut off in mid thought and told that I am wrong as soon as I propose something that they disagree with. 

And when on a very rare occasion my advice is sought, I get replies that indicate that what I have suggested is too hard to attempt or I get some other excuse to let me know that my help wasn’t really sought after all; that what they really wanted was a sounding block for their troubles and possibly a commiseration that they are indeed in a sorry place.  They did not really communicate with me for a path toward a solution. They communicated with me for company in the pity party.

So then I pause to wonder.  If most communication is about seeking company in misery rather than about finding common ground and working toward solutions by exploring those paths which are less comfortable; no wonder we so rarely really connect.  Connecting is more than sharing a heart ache and a grief.  Connecting is about opening doors and discovering that there is more yet to be discovered. 

I have often thought of myself as shy or introverted.  But possibly I am the way I am because if feel uncomfortable in the superficial.  Banal communications tire me out.  After one way listening I am in dire need of seclusion to recharge.   On those rare occasions when I have met a kindred spirit, one eager to dive into the strange and uncharted world of thoughts and ideas with me, I felt strangely electrified and alive.   Sadly mostly I meet kindred spirits in the authors of the books that I read; where once again the conversation is one way, me listening and actively engaged in thought provoking thoughts.  

When I sit here writing, knowing that some of you, my readers, are actually listening, I wonder, do you feel as I do that most of the time no one is really listening to hear what you have to say, but rather they listen so they can get the opportunity to say what they have to say?

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 – 03 – 18

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Post Estrangement - Musings on Forgiveness

My Daily Reflections:

I have to keep reminding myself the forgiveness is about letting go of the need to retaliate. I think I am getting pretty good at that. 

Forgiveness doesn't mean accepting, or allowing them back to do it again. And I think in the process of learning to forgive (i.e. let go of the need to retaliate) we become better equipped to recognize a real "atonement" rather than a fake apology. 

This serves us well in those instances when a reconciliation is on the table, for in being equipped we can defend and protect ourselves because we are on the lookout for the fake contrition that is often used to try to lure us in.

In studying forgiveness I have also studied what real atonement looks like. Really making "amends" is not just about saying "sorry" (words often spoken without intention or meaning). Really making amends is doing those things that are required to fix telling the truth to those they spread gossip to etc.

I think this is why there are so few real reconciliations. For the lies and the gossip and the slander are easy to dish out....but it takes real strength of character to A/ own up to doing those things yes....but even more difficult is B/ to then go around to everyone the lie was told to and retracting with truth. This is a hard pill to swallow.  It has become my opinion that the real reason wrong doers don’t come forward and atone is not because they are not sorry that they have caused harm but they are afraid that they might be asked to “prove” their sorrow with the actions of contrition.

It is for this reason alone, that if have come to believe that those who have betrayed me and slandered me in the past will never come to me with an apology or to seek forgiveness....for they realize that I would also expect them to atone by setting the record straight or it is no deal on the reconciliation.

I have in my heart forgiven (I do not wish to retaliate) but I also have learned that I deserve better than an "I'm sorry", a diluted apology at best.

Renate Dundys Marrello

2017 – 02 – 24 

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