How To Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”…


Empathyzoo_n
WARNING: I’m going to use the word “shit” a lot in this piece. I like this word because it gives you a clear image of the steamy pile of issues we’re all dealing with on a daily basis. So, from now on when I say “shit”, what I mean is, issues, past, wounds, hurt, pain, boundaries, belief systems, political perspectives, the sum of personal experiences and the unconscious of our “self” and others. I hope they change the definition for “shit” in the dictionary soon. You will also see me quote “self” a lot in this piece. The reason is because our “self” is all relative. Meaning, that our “self” and how we see it, is in constant flux, the way we identify it and with it is constantly different. So, I put “self” in quotes and separate from “your” and “our” so that you can separate a little from the concept and put “self” into a different perspective. You should read this aloud with your friends and turn it into a drinking game. Take a shot every time I write “self” and “shit”. Oh, and make sure to air quote them in the aloud reading. You’re welcome. Let’s get to it!

We have been told, often times, people and situations we encounter are mirror images of ourselves. It’s been said that the things we see and experience are merely reflections of the sum of our “self” back to us. I agree with this, but I think it’s being misinterpreted. People around us are only reflections of our “self” in the sense of your inner self. So, you need only pay attention to your inner feelings and voice in these interactions to gain insight into your “self”. This is the only true reflection happening. Often times, I believe others have interpreted this to mean that the way others treat you or the things about them that bother you are keys into your own “shit”. This is simply not true, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The reactions, emotions and judgments that others have towards you are plain and simply the sum of their own “shit” (see definition above).

We find our “self” (drink!), owning other people’s “shit” often. If we feel that we’ve hurt someone’s feelings or offended them in some way, we will own that. As children, we are taught to say “I’m sorry” if we have hurt someone’s feelings. So, in that sense we have been programed to own others feelings. Should you be sorry if you hurt others feelings? Well, let’s take a look at the definition of “sorry”.

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In a sense, “sorry” is used to convey how you are feeling about someone else’s “shit”. So, yes, I suppose it’s OK to be sorry for them in that respect and feel for them that they are feeling a certain way. What we do not teach children is the difference between owning your actions and owning others feelings. For example, if Timmy hits Sara over the head with a book, he should be sorry for that action. If Sara is upset because Timmy didn’t notice her new dress, he shouldn’t necessarily be sorry. Those feelings are due to her own experiences, those are her feelings alone to own. Can Timmy be empathetic towards Sara? Sure, and if he ever wants to be successful with women, he should be! So, if Sara is crying because Timmy didn’t notice her dress and expresses this to him between sobs, perhaps instead of saying “I’m sorry” he could say “I empathize with that”.

There is a big difference between owning someone's "shit" and owning your actions, it's important to know the difference. It took me many years to realize this. So, I found myself struggling with friendships and relationships because I was simply taking on too much responsibility for their "shit". You have to allow others to have and own their own "shit" and you need to recognize your own coming up. Can you empathize with them? Yes! One of my favorite lines I love to say is "You don't know their story". If we took the time to understand other's stories, we could recognize when their "shit" comes up better. So, when you come into a situation where you've offended someone or hurt their "feelings", try to understand where they are coming from instead of being "sorry".

Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”:

1.) Stop being a scientist: It's not your job to dissect someone's response towards you. Stop spinning your wheels wondering WHY they are acting the way they are. If you are sincerely feeling empathetic towards them, ASK them about their feelings. The answer you get may still be blaming, in that instance you can sympathize, but keep in mind that the root of their feelings truly has little to do with you and all to do with their "shit". Let it go!

2.) Recognize the difference between being sorry and being empathetic: You should most certainly make an effort to empathize with someone. To understand their story, to experience those feeling with them and NOT to experience guilt or sorry feelings BECAUSE of their feelings.

3.) Catch and release: When feelings of guilt or sorrow arise from someone's reaction or feelings around you, remind yourself that you cannot own other people's "shit". Ask yourself if you’re simply taking on someone's "shit". Remember sometimes our own "shit" is in fact to take on someone else's "shit". Recognize when it's happening. Catch it quickly, allow it to run its course through your emotions, release it.

4.) Practice: Use uncomfortable situations to practice. Is this truly YOU causing someone to FEEL this way or is it their own "shit"?

5.) Take Breaks: Sometimes, we just need emotional breaks from life to reevaluate. Spend time in nature or with animals. Use this time to reflect on your own "shit". Better understanding our "self" helps us to better understand others. Spending time in situations where we do not have to navigate the reactions of others helps us to put our "self" back into perspective.

6.) Remember: It's not always about you. Most of the time, it's about them.

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Telling The Truth… It’s Ok


Lately I find myself telling the truth a lot more about myself. It’s as if something switched in me and suddenly I really have no shame about who I am. Including, who I was and who I am trying to be. Granted, some of these conversation have been flowing from wine and totally nonjudgmental company, but still. As I prepare to launch my woman’s empowerment “movement” where I plan to teach other woman how to become and continue to be empowered. I guess I reached a point when I decided that sometimes, you have to tell the truth. You have to get down to the nitty-gritty with people and let them see the downright ugly scary truth about you. Because the truth is that none of us is perfect and we’ve all made mistakes. I can’t put myself in front of a bunch of women and tell them I can empower them without letting them in on the fact that I myself have been where they have been. I’ve drank myself into black outs over waiting on a TXT from a guy. I’ve talked myself out of jobs I felt I didn’t deserve. I lived in bad neighborhoods, I’ve been robbed and maced and jumped and left to die.

I think it’s important that we tell someone the truth. I think it’s important that someone hears you say all of it. Someone that you feel safe with and know that will love you no matter what. Because before we can move forward to being empowered we have to truly understand how we got where we were before and understand how to get to where we are going now. Everything matters. People will say that actions speak louder than words, well that may be true, but people haven’t always had to figure out how to pay rent or try to feed their children after losing their job. See, the thing is we all love to sit up here on our pedestal and talk down to all the minions below us. Spewing out judgment on their life choices and what I like to call “Life Forces” because I don’t care what anyone thinks, there will be a time in your life when you don’t have a choice. Life will force you to your knees and you’re going to have to put on your big girl panties and do whatever life says. However, there is a way out and it can be taught. When you’re ready to learn, it will come to you in the form it speaks most to you depending on your situation, but you have to be ready. You have to be ready to be honest.

In the meantime, I mean, fuck it, try to let that shit go. Ultimately, we are all going to end up bug food 6 feet under once life is done with our physical body. Now, maybe you believe in some kind of after life, personally I believe our energy lives on, but just not in a physical form. Scientifically, everything is energy and everything and everyone is the same no matter what bad choices that key board made in its life, it’s no better or worse than you are. Think about that for a moment, maybe with a glass of wine. If you believe that someone will judge you in your new form once you’ve left this one, well even then there is room for forgiveness as I understand. So, basically what I am getting at is, I feel like I need to be totally honest with myself and with others if this is going to work. This being, empowering other women. So, perhaps that is why I find myself launching my truths onto complete strangers, or maybe it actually was the wine. Although, I still find myself letting go of these truths, completely freaking out inside and then realizing that the world continued to spin after. Not only did the world continue to spin, but someone else in it felt just a little less judged and a little less guilty of their own “shit”. Here is the truth, everyone, I mean everyone, has their own shit. We have so much pressure to be magazine perfect or leave it to Beaver accomplished, we hide ourselves.

We hide the parts that are “less than” the mistakes that are “not good enough”. We hide them and we burry them and we don’t talk about them, hoping one day maybe they will no longer be truths to us. The crazy thing is that while you may believe that “actions speak louder than words”, maybe you’ve never had to act the way someone else has because life hasn’t presented you the opportunity. Well, good for you. Aren’t you a self-righteous so and so? Judging someone from way up there on the “I’ve never had to make that personal choice” chair must feel good. Maybe the opportunity has presented itself and you did make the “right” choice, so you feel even more powerful in your “I have been there and I made a better choice than you” chair. Well, good for you. Aren’t you a self-righteous so and so? Remember that the “opportunity” looks different to all of us based on our own “shit”. So, the lines of right and wrong take on new meaning for us all.

I realized, maybe too late in life, that the moment I judged someone I became a hypocrite. More often than not, when I criticized someone else’ path, I found myself on that exact same path later in life. Well, aren’t I self-righteous so and so? Today, I know that we are doing the best we can in this crazy and all to often unforgiving place. So, as I cringe at some of the truths I’ve told lately, I also embraced them. Something made me brave. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was me getting ready to release my own shit so I can help other women release theirs. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was feeling close enough and secure enough to confide. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was coming to terms finally with who I am, and being totally OK, no, proud of that. It was probably the wine.

You’re Missing The Point….


Social-Media-Ruins-Minds


As human beings we have a unique ability to connect with each other in ways that can be more powerful than any other force. We’ve cured disease, fed the hungry, ended wars and accomplished the unimaginable. We hold the ability to connect with one another, to communicate and compromise. We should cherish each other and nurture our relationships. I always say that cab drivers are among my most favorite people. I have to say that I’ve never met a cab driver that has not completely intrigued me. Their job is to get human beings from one point to another and sometimes to talk to them in the process if they are lucky. Cab drivers know humanity in its most beautiful and ugly form and yet they almost always seem happy to see you. Sure, they have their bad days, after all they are human too, but mostly they just want to know your story. Maybe even more to the point, you want to tell your story. No matter who you are, when someone shows a genuine interest in you, that makes you feel good. You want to talk about the cutest ever thing your 2 year old did or how you’re worried you may lose your job. I think that is why Facebook has become so popular. It’s an opportunity every day for you to get up, get in your virtual cab and tell your story to all your cabby’s, who just happen to also be your friends and family in this case.

In some ways it’s a wonderful gift. We are able to keep up with friends and family near and far at just the click of a button. We get to share our stories every day right down to what we are eating for dinner that night. It’s truly feeding our basic need to be seen and heard, but maybe in the process we have turned into cannibals, using each other as prey. Somewhere along the line, we decided that because the cabby had put up the glass wall, in this case the internet, between us we could suddenly begin to judge him. We could suddenly start making giant signs on poster board and hanging them out the window of the cab with arrows pointing to him saying “I’m judging this person, and this is what I think of him”. To make matters worse, all of our friends who love and trust us are driving along the cab honking their horns and yelling “YES, JUDGE THAT PERSON I HAVE NEVER MET! JUDGE THAT SITUATIION I AM NOT A PART OF! I AM 100% BEHIND YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I AM ON BOARD NO MATTER WHAT I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!” We would never do that in “real” life, but for some reason we feel it is OK to display this for all the world to see when we get to hide behind a screen. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It needs to stop.

I’m nowhere near perfect myself. I get frustrated and upset and I get pissed off and want to call people names. This is part of the gift and curse of emotions that we have been given. Learn to master your emotions and you will truly be enlightened. However, in the process of learning to control them, it doesn’t give you the right to let them control you. Before you decide it’s your right and emotional need to slander or stand on your Facebook soup box, you need only to ask yourself a few questions. 1.) Will this hurt someone? 2.) Is this helping someone? 3.) Am I merely looking for affirmation that I am right? I think the last one is the most important. Most of the time we are so caught up with being right, we forget to be loving. If you’re going to take a stand and attempt to rally people behind you. At least really them behind something that will project love, laughter and positive energy into the world. The point of Facebook was to get us connected, to each other, to the world, to ourselves. Don’t miss the point and use it to sabotage yourself or others. Step away from the computer, take a deep breath and move on. Be gentle with your cab driver, he is your ego. He is the one driving you to tell your story, to need to be heard, to need to be in control. Be gentle with your cab ego, ask him to slow down and take the long way home.

“Jumping to conclusions is like jumping in puddles, while it might be dramatically fun at the start, you just end up looking silly and dirty. Let’s leave that to the children.” – Tiffany Grace

Accept The Fact You’re Already Dead


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You have already begun to die. At this moment you’re closer to death than you are to life. Each and every day you die a little more. Perhaps you should just accept the fact that you’re already dead. When sick patients receive the news that they are terminally ill with limited time to live, suddenly the world becomes their playground. Sometimes, they even have their wildest dreams granted. Do you think that is because they have accepted the fact that they are dying? I recently read somewhere that this reaction is a direct result of our ego taking a back seat for once in its life. Suddenly, keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t the priority. Driving the nicest car and wearing the latest fashions lose their luster and their meaning. Things like family and adventure, true soul searching take up the driver seat. Ironically, this is how we should be living the remainder of our lives on a daily basis.

This isn’t a new concept, right? I mean it’s been done before, psychologist have pondered this for years. I know, you’re sitting there saying to yourself “yea, but I have responsibilities and I can’t just abandon it all to live a care-free lifestyle”. So, I guess then you just accept the fact that you’re already dead?  Which means, that you are missing all the in between stuff. Just because you live life to the fullest, doesn’t mean you have to abandon “responsibility”. Everyone has a different version of happiness, I am simply suggesting that you find yours. Maybe happiness to you is being the CEO of a company or maybe it’s traveling the world with nothing you can call your own except your name. There is no right or wrong, but something must be done. If not, life becomes a series of “have to’s”. Obligations and responsibilities that we all have to do. Let me ask you this, if you’ve accepted the fact that you’re already dead and succumbed to life’s many demands, why have you chosen to create hell as your final resting place instead of heaven? Why have you chosen to be miserable instead of happy? This is a choice people. There are many people all around the world that have much less than we do that have grasped this reality and chosen to mold it into a heaven instead of a hell.

Any of you that have read my past posts or know me personally know that I am not an advocate for organized religion. I’m simply using the concepts of “heaven” and “hell” because they are easy for everyone to relate to. One of the reasons I have kept organized religion at bay in my life is because I strongly feel that guilt, repression and judgment are a huge part of most of those “houses of God”. I think that God, if he truly existed in the form that is being taught in our churches, would be appalled by the misinterpretation of “his word”. Anyway, that is another rant for another day. Today’s message, should you choose to take it for its grain of salt, is that you can choose your heaven and you can choose your hell here on earth. If you subscribe to the belief that everything is made up of the same energy then you’ll agree that really, they are all the same thing. You just have to decide which vibration you want to be a part of. Perhaps that’s why they call it a “higher” vibration or a “higher” IQ or a “higher” bank account. Really, we all just want to get high. You have the power to be at a higher vibration in life if you want to be. If everything feels like it’s falling apart and life has become too much, ask yourself why. I’d be willing to bet many of those reasons would relate to the expectations of society or others around you that you have put on yourself. We were not meant to carry the burdens of obligations to our religions or our peers or even our family. We were meant to create love and abundance for the world. If we all start focusing on that and stop focusing on guilt and the need to be outwardly “successful”, what do you think that world would look like? All those people you are trying so desperately to please, will start to reflect this back to you. You are your own worlds mirror.

So, consider this your notice of terminal illness. Because, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to be the one that gets out alive. Take your dream trip, fall in love, follow all of your dreams. Put away the judgment of others and watch how fast others drop the judgments of you. More to the point, who cares? This is your life and you only get one shot in your current form. You can have all that you dream of, but you must first dare to dream. We were not put here in this form to live life just enough. We have been given the gift of free thought and each of us has the ability to use that tool to our advantage. Choose to believe that. Every limit that you have put on yourself, every insecurity and doubt is yours alone to own. Put your ego in the back seat and start steering your life based on how you want to feel and where you want to go. It’s a lifelong practice that will ebb and flow but you can start by taking the chances that you have the privilege to take.  If things start to look bleak, start appreciating those little things you take for granted. I mean, all the little things your take for granted! I love to travel and that is certainly a good way to remind all of us in the US how lucky and spoiled we are on a daily basis. You don’t have to feel bad about that, but I’d encourage you to be thankful for it!

We have not been programed mentally our entire lives to think this way. We have been programed to believe the we are not good enough and that what others think of us is very important. Therefore, our ego tends to take the driver’s seat more often than not. I always think of my ego as a whiney little boy barley able to touch to gas and the break. Peaking over the steering wheel, crashing into things, leaving me with bruises and scars. He’s up there saying “are were there yet? Why aren’t we there yet? Sallie got there yesterday and now we are behind”. Remember that your ego is your small child and they need to be disciplined. So, tell them “take a back seat kiddo, I’m taking back control”. You wouldn’t let your five year old drive you around all day would you? Then why are you allowing your ego to?

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is you.

The Power Of Release


There comes a time in your life when you need to just release things that bring you anxiety or stress. I’ve found so much inner peace and love over the past few years that I have just decided not to hang onto negative people, places, memories or things. I am releasing them. Sometimes in the form of writing, which in many cases has been unwelcome by some that do not understand it. However, I think that bringing to light and speaking aloud truth you’ve kept bottled for so long can be a great healer. When you begin to release things in any form, you will get great resistance from others. Especially, if you are speaking truth about things they’d like to hold onto and they will feel great discomfort with your choice to release.  People can take great pride in their secrets, and your releasing them threatens the identity they have created around these secrets. Some people cannot accept the power of release and choose instead to dwell in either denial or the comfort of their own perception. Unable to accept the experiences of others.

It simply cost too much to allow someone or something to make you feel physically ill or mentally drained. Life is much too short for those things. This is why I have been practicing the power of release. I’ve chosen to simply remove myself from those kinds of situations. That doesn’t necessarily mean I am cutting people out of my life, I am simply removing myself from the negative situation. I am not allowing my emotions to be affected by outside circumstances. In order to achieve that, I will simply refuse to participate in giving it power.  I have worked very hard on creating balance, abundance and peace in my life and cannot allow that to be disrupted by outside circumstances. I feel that those that know me best as a person, will have no questions as to my character or motives. Therefore, I need not defend either of those things because the people that choose to bring love into my life would never dream to question those things even during this process. As the like minded and loving people will accept my journey as I will accept theirs as a result.  When your motives or character are being questioned, I think you have to reevaluate the relationship or situation. Your spiritual and personal quest, which for me currently is healing with writing,  will either bring out the best in others, or the worst. This is when you will know what and whom to keep. No matter how long, or what it might disrupt, it might be time to draw back your focus. It’s so important to be surrounded by like minds, and to draw those interactions to you. If you continue to hold on to the situations or things that are not in line with your spiritual growth, you will come to a stand still. Overcome by the circumstances instead of continuing to create love, light and positive vibrations.

I don’t view this as some kind of a loss, I think that you’re gaining peace when you choose to release. When the only thing that comes from a relationship or a situation is stress and anxiety, it’s just not worth spending your precious peace and energy on. If something in your life is creating this inside you to the point that it’s affecting your well being, it’s time to release. Once you choose to release a situation it will resolve itself one way or another, but continuing to hold on will only bring more stress.

I am so blessed in my life to be continuously surrounded by amazing people and circumstances. I am thankful everyday for those things and I will continue to be thankful for people and situations that create balance and love in my soul. Many times our first reaction to negative is to respond defensively desperately trying to shed light on our side. I realize now that is unnecessary. When others intentions are that of love, respect and understanding in your life, they will create that towards you. If their intention is to create negative and unnecessary disruption on your life because of their own projections they will also create that towards you.

I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. The saying that some people, even family, are in your life for reason or just a season is so true. We are all here to learn from each other and to experience new things and grow! At some point, sometimes you stop growing. I know that within myself and the life I am choosing to create, I want my relationships that I choose in my life to continue to grow. They cannot do that when others are creating negative thoughts and reactions towards you.

My mother used to refer to these people as “emotional vampires”  because by the time you are finally ready to be released from them, you are completely drained. They are the ones that round up others and consume a situation like a giant black hole trying to suck as many people into the negative energy force as possible. This is because they are choosing not to release and the only way to continue to hold on to the negative being created is to gain the acceptance of others on their perspective. This feeds the “emotional vampire” because they can now latch onto someone else and continue to drain them with negative sucking. They will probably be greatly successful at this since as humans we’re much more naturally attached to the negative and dramatic roles in life. If others cannot see the light and beauty that you are projecting onto the world, they are simply not worthy to receive it. If they have chosen to perceive you or your actions as those that are not loving, then perhaps they have missed the point completely.

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Yoga By The Sea & The Practice Of Life


Recently I’ve taken to Yoga as it’s in direct correlation with my new spiritual path. Well, technically not so new path as I’ve been on it for some time now I suppose. I like Yoga because it’s OK to suck at it. The instructor is constantly reminding me that it is the “practice” of Yoga and not the “master” of Yoga. I find this tremendously agreeable given my complete lack of coordination and flexibility.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that perhaps I have been trying far too hard in my life to “master” as opposed to “practice”. I’ve always had big ambitions and dreams, but when they didn’t turn out the way I planned, I’d blame myself and suffer tremendous guilt. Granted, I tend to bite more off than most people when it comes to undertaking goals. For example, my wedding, it couldn’t just be an ordinary white dress and church. Of course, I had to take things to a new level with a black wedding dress and a chic outdoor vintage picnic style reception. I found myself panicked the other night thinking this would be either a magazine worthy event or a complete disaster depending on how I go from my head to reality on this crazy plan.  I find myself on the border of chic and tacky a lot of the time.

Instead of letting life play out in a fun and chaotic fashion, I’ve taken to trying desperately to control the details. Meticulously playing each moment of  interactions, planning and my future with every word and action. I worry myself to death about how someone might have taken something I said or where my career, or lack of, will land me. Just like the wedding, I stay up fretting the small stuff endlessly. It becomes quite tiresome working towards perfection that realistically cannot be met. Will my guest notice that my napkins are one shade lighter than the blankets? Probably not. Will they embrace my crazy picnic idea and dance under the stars? Well, I really do not know, but I suppose sometimes you just have to have faith in the abilities of your friends and family to deal with it.

During my meditation time after Yoga I pondered the “practice” concept and have decided that I will begin to “practice” my endeavours in life instead of trying to “master” everything I encounter. After all, it’s not a competition because in the end none of us makes it out alive and therefore none of us is really winning in the game of life. It’s time to cut ourselves some slack on the details and let some things fall through the cracks. Life is simply too short to try to please everyone. At some point we have to let these fears go and begin to enjoy the practice of life.

Yoga By The Sea

In my younger years, I found myself troubled even more so by the worry of day to day details. In order to clear my mind and fall asleep at night, I would imagine a blank white wall. There is nothing written on the wall and the wall is endless. There is no sound in the white room, everything is still and clear. When my mind started to write things on the wall or post photos, I knew it was time for a new tactic. Suddenly, my white walled quiet sanctuary was slowly becoming a cluttered facebook styled collage.

I started listening to the gentle sound of a soft fan before bed. I take a deep breath and focus on only the sound of the fan, once I have that in my mind I focus on the cold air on my arms and the softness of the sinsation until I drift off to sleep. I’ve found doing this before bed really helps me to clear my mind. Sometimes, people accuse me of not dealing with my feelings or recognizing how things are affecting me. I find that our minds and emotions are incredible things. I’ve saved thousands of dollars on therapy by letting my subconscious mind work those issues out on it’s own in my dreams. Crazy as it may sound,  this is an amazing way to heal and we don’t even have to try.

So, the next time I have a minor freak out about how to display the seating chart, I will take a deep breath and remember that I am still just “practicing”. I have my whole life to learn and relearn and teach. So, I will embrace the challenge of imperfections in my world.

PS: If you made it this far, you’re probably sick of “quotes”. Now go back re-read and imagine I am air quoting all of those. You’re welcome.