Do Unto Others As They Do Unto You?

FilmClubScenes_LifeWithFather_3

I was watching tv about a year ago when I stumbled upon a rather comical scene in an old movie.  It caught not only my attention and ear but, it made me both chuckle and think at the same time.

“Do unto others as they do unto you,” a young boy said, practising what he thought was the way that statement was phrased from The Bible in “Life With Father”. 

Most of us know by now that the most common quote is a few words more than this.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Somehow though, this young boy’s twist on this famous Bible quote felt more appropriate given what I had been dealing with for the most part of my life and struck me into a thinking mode.

Not consciously, I had been living my life according to the Biblical version rather than this young boy’s interpretation.  I had been doing for others what I wish others would do for and with me.  That’s not the way that it had gone, unfortunately.  It was more akin to me giving and others taking.  It has never balanced out the way that one would think it should and likely never will so, this boy’s incorrect quote gave me pause to stop and think about the way that Life works.

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A short while later, I had flipped channels at the ending of the movie to find a comedy series, “The Middle” .  It’s one of those shows where you have to take a light-hearted view of The Heck Family and their antics but there’s oftentimes some pretty cute anecdotes written into the scripts that leave the viewer with a sense of hope in spite of the dysfunction that goes on within the created family and episodes.

Frankie (Francis) Heck, the mom played by Patrica Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame, had given up on trying to sell used cars and didn’t try.  That’s when she sold a car.  She preached and raved that the secret to everything was to “stop trying!”

Somehow, I had a feeling that the 2 ideas were connected in one way or another and were aiming their arrows straight at me.  After all, I had been trying hard to treat others the way that I would like to be treated and I had been trying far too hard.  Maybe, I had it all wrong?  Perhaps, I was supposed to stop trying and treat others as they treated me?  Was that the message?  Maybe, The Universe/God/Higher Powers were talking to me through comical characters and situations via a television screen?  Maybe, I need meds because I was thinking that Higher Consciousness would speak to me through a television?

It’s hard for me (and, I’m sure a lot of other people) to simply “stop trying” and “do unto others as they do unto you” but, there’s something in those 2 ideas that were sitting with a huge question mark in my stomach.  They still are.

What if we were to reasonably do all that we can do then, simply stop trying any further?  Is there a middle? (Pun intended).

What if we tried to treat others as we would want them to treat us but, if they didn’t, treat them the same way that they’d treated us?  Again, pun intended, the middle.

I tried them out in real Life.

There’s a crotchety neighbour (the same age as I am) whom I’ve done somersaults to help out for over the 30 plus years that I’ve know her.  She was nice as long as I was doing something for her but, the moment that I had a difference of opinion or couldn’t help her out, she’d turned on me in a nasty way instead of understanding that I simply disagreed with her viewpoint or couldn’t help her this one time.  She was the perfect person to try this theory out with because she fit the criteria of my having tried too hard and the fact that she’d never lived according to the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have do unto you.

As I sat out on the front porch with a tea, ready to simply breathe and relax a bit after a full day’s work, this neighbour came up the street and plopped herself down in the chair beside me on my porch uninvited but typically for her.  She began with her plethora of woes, tales of wrong-doings from others as well as demanding that I help her.

“Sorry, I can’t help you,” I answered nonchalantly.  “I don’t even know these people so, you’re going to have to deal with them this time, on your own.”

There was a stoney silence for a moment or two.  Actually, the break in her ramblings and rants was a bit refreshing. I wondered if it were possible to last.  I knew the answer though and thus, it began.

“You’re not going to help me?” she asked in astonishment and shock that I was refusing  to enter into her issues.

“No, sorry,” I responded to reaffirm what I had just said only a moment or so ago, recognizing that even though I would normally have tried, this time I couldn’t help her.  She went off into a rant and yelled both obscenities as well as personal insults.

Normally, this would have set me off into a state of upset and panic at possibly having done something wrong and re-visiting whether or not I could help her.  This time, as I was allowing my mind to run amok again, I suddenly heard Frankie Heck’s voice as well as that of the young boy from the movie.  Stop trying and do unto others as they do unto you.  A rage filled my inner being that threatened to erupt like a volcano, spewing its molten lava and ash but, I held back quite a bit.

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“Leave my front porch!” I stated, loudly and firmly while pointing to the sidewalk.

“WHAT?” she screeched.

“You heard me.  Leave now, please,” I retorted, still pointing to the sidewalk.

The shock on her facial expression and bodily language told me what she was feeling.  She was both shocked and outraged at the same time.  I could easily see that she had expected the same sort of reaction from me that she’d always had and didn’t like what she was getting this time.  She hurled a few explicative curse words at me before getting up and storming off the porch.  She continued more of them from the sidewalk and paced like a caged tiger, not knowing what else to do.

angry woman

Part of me wondered whether she truly thought that her behaviour and actions, if said loudly and long enough, would change my mind. The other part was oddly both calm and about to laugh.  It was as though I had a bad dream and was seeing the light of day in waking up as to how non-sensical it all had been.  She continued by adding untrue accusations at this point, said loudly enough for the entire neighbourhood and passerbys to hear easily.  I kept my cool and finished drinking my now, cold tea, something I would normally have offered to have made her but, didn’t this time.  I wasn’t going to make her feel at home while she unloaded both herself and her anger, uninvited on my front porch this time.  I wasn’t going to make it easy nor comfortable for her to abuse me as that’s what it boiled down to in all reality.

The yelling, pacing, cursing, swearing and accusation hurling went on for another several minutes.  I simply sat there, letting her carry on, figuring that she’d eventually burn herself out with not only things to say but, also open herself up to scrutiny from others through her own words and behaviour and, turned out that I was correct.  Not only did she eventually give up and leave entirely but, others had heard her and told me so a few hours to a few days later, asking me how and why I had put up with her all of these years.

It’s been nearly a year now since that episode and temper tantrum and I haven’t seen her except from a distance nor, has she bothered with me since.  My life has been much more peaceful ever since and there’s a few others in my life who are in need of a similar type of treatment.  Two things have stood out to me though.

  1. Do unto others as they do unto you after you’ve tried to treat them the way that you would like them to treat you.  If it’s not returned…treat them as they treat you.
  2. When you’ve tried with someone and can’t make a dent in things with them, stop trying.

From my little corner of life, I do believe that Higher Powers were talking to me through these characters on my television that day.  I may need meds to control that type of thinking but, do you know what?  It works!

Have yourself a great day.

Blessings….  love-and-light

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping: Doorway to Heaven Or Hell

For most of my life, I’ve tumbled somersaults for other people and mothered, mothered and mothered them.  Why, I don’t know the answer to yet but, I do know that the only thing it’s done is to both open a doorway for people to use me as well as to shun me when they don’t want or need anything from me.

Case in point are a few stray family members who will leap bounds to call or to see me if I have something that they want and am offering to give it to them.  The rest of the time, I don’t hear from them or see them.

highway to helping or hell

I was recently concerned about one person in my life who seemed to be at the end of their rope.  I worried endlessly at their words, “I’m tired…I’ve had enough of life.”  Having lost most of my family to deaths, I was worried sick that this person was going to do something I consider stupid to themselves if I didn’t do something.  As usual, I stood on my head, got them what they wanted and needed and did everything in my power to help them through this rough spot.  The calls stopped.  As a matter of fact, all contact stopped.

Now panicked and living quite a distance away from them, making a drop-by not an easy task, I phoned and left messages with no return calls.  Then suddenly, a few days ago, I received a return call, rushed and while they were driving saying, “I got your message but, I forgot to call you back.”  (Think Exorcist with Regan’s 360 degree head-spin and spewing green pea soup upon my hearing that answer.)

“You forgot?!” I answered with surprise, anger and indignation.  “You FORGOT to call me back?  I must be the most forgettable person in the world then.”

“It’s just that I’ve been so busy,” was the beginning of that answer and, I went on to hear a plethora of things that this person had been doing.  Let me just say that they weren’t the writhing ball of tears that they had been only a couple of weeks before where I had concerned my every waking moment with the thoughts that this person might end their lives.  As a matter of fact, everything sounded not only better but, normal.

Most others would have been relieved at the sound of the answers.  Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved but there was a huge part of me that felt both angry and gullible at the same time as well.

I was angry that I had yet again, been taken in by my imagined worries about someone else.  My life had been plagued by worry and fear of losing someone else in my life and that I was gullible enough to have fallen for it all.

I’m sure that at the time, what was uttered from that person’s mouth was feeling real to them.  I’m sure that their spouse was being genuine in their plight at that time as well.  However, Life went on for them beyond my help, concern and worry.  They were in a hole at that point in time but, as most people can and will do for the most part, they had found their way back to equilibrium and were living their usual lives again.

Perhaps, what bothered me most was the fact that I had spent weeks of my own life and personal energy worrying, giving of my own time, energy, thought, deed etc. seemingly needlessly, when yet again, all would have gone back to it’s usual state anyway whether or not I had been involved.  My worry for was for naught and my actions were only appreciated at that moment, not beyond that point.  I was again, faded into the background of those people’s lives as is par for the course with most people.  I seem to be the only person who has not gotten that fact yet.

I’m not by any means advocating not helping other people here.  That’s not what I’m saying by a long shot.  What I am saying is that there’s a difference between helping someone and turning your own life upside down by turning somersaults for them to help or care about them.  There is a difference as I’ve come to learn.  What’s more, I’ve learned that people will take from you if you’re going to lay yourself down and let them walk all over your emotions and empathy.  It’s one thing to help someone else.  It’s another to make it your life’s mission to become their saviour.  There was only one Mother Theresa and even she was not as appreciated in Life as she should have been or, one would think she could have been treated for all that she did.

Today, I am removing my Habit.  I have gotten up off of the floor from this latest knock-down which seems to be a recurring theme in my life due to my own choices in Life.  Somewhere I had turned myself into the World’s Mother and I needn’t have done it because if there’s one thing that I’ve come to learn, people will look after themselves for the most part.  It’s up to us to look after ourselves too rather than everyone else.

Put yourself first.  Put your own oxygen mask on first and deal with your own needs before you go leaping in to help everyone else.

From my little corner of life, taking care of everyone else to excess is a recipe for disaster for yourself as well as the people you are doing this for especially, if it’s become a way of life for you to do. It can also become quite the let-down if you think it will endear people to you.  It doesn’t necessarily work that way especially, when done to excess or constantly.  All that it does it mark yourself as a target for those who will simply take from you.  Help but, do it in only as much as absolutely needed and even then, be sure that you’re really needed before you leap in with both feet to rescue others.  You may be enabling them, making yourself a doormat or opening yourself up to being used by others.  Be discerning with who you help and how much you help.  While helping is oftentimes needed and warranted, meter it out to the right people, in the right amounts and in the right way.  When you do take care of or help others, feel good about it within yourself first and foremost, not expecting others to truly appreciate what you’ve done or how much it took you to help them.  When done in abundance, they will have pegged you as their doormat.

Remember one thing….

Helping can be the doorway to Heaven or Hell, metaphorically speaking.

Blessings, Love and Light.

When Do I Get To Have Fun?

Young man sitting on edge of bed, looking out patio doors, side view

Thinking About Having Fun 

I woke up this morning and the first question or thought that hit me was, “when do I get to have fun?”

It may sound strange to ask oneself such a question when we are really in control of things like that.  Yes, we all have responsibilities and some of them are all consuming with our time and energy.  Sometimes, those tasks are more energy draining than we have internal strength, time or power to overcome.  I was no exception to that rule throughout my life.  I was a caregiver for more than I care to think about and, they kept me occupied for a good chunk of my life.

From a young age, I took over a mothering role with my youngest brother when he was born.  My mother became an alcoholic and I had to grow up fast, much faster than what I had ever wanted to, intended on or should have had to have to have done.

My father had a heart attack at 39 years of age and his health also became a concern with a great fear of losing him to yet another attack.  In those days, the reality was that there wasn’t as much that could be done for a heart patient as there are now.  While most parents would have tried to have sheltered their children from the harsh realities of death and illnesses to some degree or another, my mother and her family’s drinking patterns weren’t exactly ones of nurturing children, let alone sheltering.  As a matter of fact, it was an environment that threw us into survival mode and left my brother closest in age to me and myself, as parents to our parents and a much younger brother.

Throughout my life, I became chief caregiver and bottle washer for many family members on both my family and my husband’s family as they all eventually, one by one,  became ill or aged and died.  I have buried more people and pets than I can count and more recently, my own daughter had decided to move out with a drug-riddled jerk who has a narcissistic personality disorder.  She stopped seeing, talking or communicating with us in spite of my efforts towards trying to get her to work things out with us.

I don’t begrudge any of those things because I personally believe that it’s made me a much stronger person because of it all.  I have learned more about what’s inside of me than what I knew existed within me.  I found a sense of power that could be brought out when needed while at the same time, I had weakened in other ways.  Long-termed stress can do a number on one’s mind and body.  It’s been a double edged sword but, not as bad as some people on this planet have had to face.  I won’t complain.

Perhaps, it was a dream that I was having that awakened me with this question?  I have no idea but, I do know that it’s a valid question that only I can answer and do something about.

There’s no one left to care give for other than my husband and our pets.  Even our grown and adult daughter is no longer part of our lives and therefore, I have no obligations towards her in any way.  My husband is now retired.  We are living on a fixed income but we had the foresight to put away some savings towards our future.  Of course, we don’t know if it will be enough and we have to be careful but, I do know that it can allow us some room to relax a bit as long as we’re careful about what we spend.  We are not living hand-to-mouth at the moment but, there’s little left for frivolities.  Still, there is space for at least a comfortable living if we’re careful with our savings and pension.

The real hindrance is ourselves and our overly cautious and responsible natures.  My husband is worse than I am in that arena.  He is more afraid of changes than I am as the only constant in my life has been learning to adapt to and deal with changes.  While I have been far more willing to make changes, my husband remains with his feet stuck in the mud of routines.

What I have thought about throughout the day today is that I am the only one who can create situations for fun.  Everyone is tasked with that ability to make choices.  It’s up to each of us to make decisions which can lead us towards new adventures and fun or to stay mired in routine and simply move from one crisis to another, breathing in between and hoping for peace.  Maybe that’s what most people hope for and I am expecting too much?  However, having lived a life that was filled with responsibility from a far too young age, I am ready for fun.  I’m ready for changes in routines and I’m willing to make changes.  Now, to convince my husband whom I’ve been with since I was 16 years of age. I have no wish to leave him behind at this point in my life no matter what but, I am not willing to remain the same for the rest of our lives having lost so many people I was close to throughout my life.

I’m sure that over the next few weeks, I will come up with a list of things that I wish to do.  I’ve never given myself that opportunity to think of what it is that I wish to do with my life but, I suppose that most of us are running on auto-pilot and simply doing what we need to do versus what we want to do.  For some, that will include and be focused solely on survival so, I can’t complain in all reality.

What is the purpose of this piece beyond me whining, you may be asking yourself right now.

The purpose is to say that fun is important.  Whether we are laughing for a short period of time with others or, walking beaches with warm sand and water running between our toes, or a lounging evening in front of a good movie on the television set, fun is an important part of both our mental and physical health.  It’s an element of us that needs to be considered fully as part of our healthcare regime and darn it…I am going to find a way to put more of it into my life now that I’ve done enough for everyone else for most of my life.

From my little corner of life to yours, may you make the time to laugh, be silly and have fun.  It’s important.  It’s also something that shouldn’t be put off because none of us know what tomorrow brings.

Be well, stay well, blessings, Love and Light as I have found the answer to my question by simply writing this piece.

THE TIME IS NOW!  Have fun.

Leaping Into The Hole: Does It Help Or Hurt Someone Else

helping someone out of a hole

A neighbour of mine, across the street, recently lost her mother suddenly.  She passed away at the age of 89 years of age.  Flowers still grace the large Italian style front porch that show of her sorrow in this loss.  It’s hard to see as I know the grief she is feeling and dealing with right now.  We can look at age as “oh well, she’d lived a long life” but, when it’s our loved ones, we always want more time with them.  Age has no meaning especially, when the person was still full of life and had been able to do most things on their own still and with full mindfulness.

In reaching out to my neighbour yesterday, wondering how she was doing and her family, I realized that this was this woman’s first loss of a close family member.  She still has her father and brother and many other relatives in her life so, this was a particularly difficult loss as well as lesson for her to have gone through.  My thoughts, prayers and best wishes go out to her as she travels this journey of grief that we all must go through if we live long enough to lose those around us who mean the most to us.  Sadly, the only way to avoid that is by us leaving this planet before those deaths happen.  Neither is a consoling thought but, rather simply a reality.

My own mother has been gone now longer than I had her as part of my life.  I lived without a mother most of my life. My father passed away nearly 18 years ago now too, having watched him suffer a nasty death with cancer.  The brother I was closest to because of our ages being so close, passed away suddenly through an accident at work nearly 6 years ago, leaving me feel like half of me was taken away at that point as well.  I still mourn his loss.  Even when he could not help me with issues that we all have to deal with in one way or another, he could make me laugh or would simply give me one of his famous “Bear Hugs” that made the world’s troubles melt away.  I miss him terribly and I don’t suppose I will ever stop missing him during this lifetime but, I had to go on as I had a husband, daughter and one remaining brother (my “Little Brother” as I call him because there is quite an age gap between us) to be here for and with.

In between those deaths, I’d also lost my entire family, one by one.  Some went by natural causes of “old age” while others suffered horrendous deaths with diseases or through suicides.  Needless to say, I had a banking of a lot of experience on which to draw upon in order to try to offer some sort of soothing comfort to this neighbour-friend.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to not go back and to some extent or another, relive every death you’ve had to endure in order to help someone else.  It’s only through experiencing it ourselves that we can honestly say that we can understand (to some extent or another) what someone else may be going through, emotionally, mentally and even physically.  Grief takes its toll in so many ways and all at the same time.

Though I knew that feeling empathy towards this friend-neighbour and reliving those deaths that I had to endure with grief was not the way to help, it was almost automatic for me to have done so.  There is a difference between empathy and sympathy.  Sympathy would have and should have been enough but, I went automatically to empathy which took me in a tumble backwards emotionally that I really needn’t have gone to as not many others will go down that road to help someone else.  It’s human nature to preserve one’s own well-being, first and foremost before helping others.  Equally sad is the fact that most people will go through the motions of doing what is considered the right thing to do but, emotionally not be there.  Sometimes, that is all that is required and perhaps, the healthiest thing that one can do for another who is suffering through their own travels in Life.  However, there is another piece that I’ve written that goes into more detail and can be read HERE.

Suffice it to say that I have somewhat suffered with her because of empathy but, I also recognized that I cannot suffer for her.  There are lessons that can and will be learned through the hardest times in our lives and it’s not ours to take those away from people we love.  We can’t even do that for our own children.  They need those falls, hurt feelings and everything else we’ve been through in order to learn for themselves.  Should we shelter them from Life, we’d be doing them no favours.  Life Lessons are learned through both the good and the bad.  Most often, the biggest lessons we learn have come through the hardest things we’ve had to face in our lives.  That’s what gives us strength, character and provides us with knowledge that is invaluable for other lessons we all must learn in Life.

One thing that I have learned through this loss, though I really didn’t know this woman’s mother, is that we can offer up our companionship, words of wisdom and even a shoulder when we can but, much like the piece linked above is saying, we needn’t leap into the hole with someone.  We are of no help when we do that.  It’s much more helpful for us to remain on the side and throw down a rope to help them climb out than to jump in with them.  Both remain stuck and helpless when we do that.

From my little corner of life, we can understand other’s predicaments without leaping into a pit with them.  We can offer them our hand to help them out of their holes and we can be there for them.  It’s not wise nor, helpful to say that we “understand” by reliving all of our own Life’s troubles.  That’s akin to leaping into that hole too and does no one any good.

Blessings, Love and Light…stay well.

 

Serenity In Life

serenity

Life and living it have a way of teaching us all lessons.  Some are not what we want to learn but rather what we need to learn.  Not all of Life is under our control just as most other people are not under our control.  That’s a hard lesson to learn but one that needs to be remembered by many of us at all times.

There’s an old poem, The Serenity Prayer that possibly says it all as concisely and nicely as anything or anyone can say it.

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change those things I can,

And, Wisdom to know the difference.  

Not everything we do in a day, week, month year or even our entire lives will be serene.  Serenity does not come from outside of ourselves but rather, from within.

We won’t always like what happens in our lives.  There will be times when we’re feeling like our world is crumbling down around us.  For the most part, it’s learning that there are things that we can do something about and other things which are beyond our control while knowing the difference which is what gives us that much needed serenity.

If we have done all that we can do then, we have no regrets.  Having no regrets brings us a sense of serenity, even when all else around us is breaking down.

When we recognize that there are things that are not under our control and can let go of those things and move onto things that are within our control, we have the serenity of knowing that it was never ours to deal with in the first place and, whatever happens, was going to happen…good or bad.  Again, no regrets.

  • Nothing remains the same as everything is constantly changing.
  • The only constant in life is change
  • This too shall pass

It’s hard wired into us as human beings to want to do all that we can to solve crises that happen in our lives.  None of us will get through Life without some form of it or another. It’s also in our nature to want to do something about everything we can unless of course, we are emotionally lacking EQ (Emotional Quotient) or have a form of inability to care about things in our lives.  That’s rare.  Most of us want to solve our issues now and when we can’t, we pray, hope, wish, keep good luck charms or even run away from those issues rather than face them and figure out how to deal appropriately with them.  The one thing that we all know is that eventually, no matter what is troubling us, it will pass as nothing remains the same forever.

Key Questions To Ask Yourself: 

  1. Is this situation really something that I can do something about?
  2. What can I do?
  3. What have I already tried to do about it?
  4. Did anything work to change it?
  5. How can I move onwards?

If you answered questions 1 to 4, it means that you’ve already tried.  At the least, you have thought about what you have done or could do.

If you answered question 4 with a “nothing I’ve done has worked to change it”, it’s likely that it isn’t yours to do anything about and whatever happens, will happen.  It also means that it’s time to move onto question 5 and figure out how to move onwards while the situation(s) evolve or devolve into the way that they’re going to go.

How To Move Onwards

  1. Recognize that you’ve done all that you can and there’s nothing left for you to try.  Key to this point is remembering that continuing to do the same things and expecting a different outcome is the definition of either obsession or insanity.
  2. Offer the situation up to either a Higher Power such as “The Universe” and leave it there or, if you don’t believe in anything higher than us, recognize that you are limited in your ability to solve it.  That’s key.
  3. Though you may not want to or it may hurt, moving away from the person or situation may be your only choice.  It’s not easy and it doesn’t always mean a geographical move but, rather one of emotionally distancing yourself from the person or situation.
  4. Get busy!  Find other things that you can do something about.  We all have many things in our lives that we can find to occupy not only our time but, also our thoughts.  Doing laundry, getting out with friends, joining a group or club of others with like-minded interests, listening to music, journalling our thoughts, volunteering for those who need help, taking up a hobby of your interest, working out, getting away on a vacation, changing jobs if possible, leaving work at work, moving stations if possible at work to get away from the person causing you the issues, talking your feelings out with a loved one or good friend…even a certified counsellor, just do something else that takes you away from the person(s) or situations that are bothering you helps.  Remember that a mental break from it is equally helpful as it is to move away physically.
  5. Staying in the “now” is overrated with some things.  During times of great stress or upset, staying focused on the negative happening in your life is not helpful.  Distract yourself during those times by doing things you love, or by enjoying a cup of tea, coffee, warm milk, or whatever it is that you like.  Taking a walk, or observing other things that appear normal to you, will help.
  6. No matter how badly you feel at the time, things will change and it will pass.  Remembering that will oftentimes get us through our roughest times.  Time is a wonderful healer and getting away even mentally can help us pass the time until things change if there’s nothing left for us to do to change it.
  7. Get away from people who are abusive.  You’re likely not going to change the abusive person unless they express the wish to change.  Even then, unless they are seeking out professional help or showing great attempts and making progress at changing, they’re not likely to become someone or something you’re going to want or will be helpful in your life.  Extricating yourself or even spending less and less time with them, is helpful.  The more you concentrate on doing things with people who are more positive, the more you are going to feel positive.  That attitude might be all it takes for you to finally realize that you’re worth more than what this person is handing you and you’ll move onto others who will give you what you need and deserve more fully.
  8. Grieving the loss of ability to change things or people only lasts for so long before one becomes tired of waiting around for change to happen.  If you can make other choices, make them.  Don’t just sit and wait around for change to happen.  Get on with your life and interests, needs, wants and doing what you can for yourself that can help you through the grief.  Grief ends at some point or another.  At the least, it lessens in intensity which allows you to move forward again.  Take that step and move forward.
  9. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  It takes putting one foot in front of the other and taking one small step at a time before we realize that we’re miles away from where we were to begin with.  That’s forward movement.  Whether you are one step or several thousand away from where you first began, you are moving in the right direction as long as you are moving forward.
  10. Never down-play yourself to yourself or anyone else.  You are worthy of being here and being happy just as much as everyone else is.  You are no more and no less than anyone else.  You deserve to be happy.  Take aim at happiness and move towards it while letting things go that you can’t do anything about.

 

Last but, not least, think about the fact that we have power over only so much in our lives.  No matter what else, we have the power of free will or choice.  Make the choices that are propelling you towards things that are good, healthy and joy inducing versus staying put, banging your head against a wall in trying to change what was never yours to change in the first place.  If you’ve done all that you can think of doing or if it’s someone else’s responsibility…drop it and move on.  No regrets.

From my little corner of life, serenity comes from knowing when to stop trying to change something you cannot change and learning to recognize the difference.

 

Is Ralph Smart (Infinite Waters Diving Deep) The Youtube Sensation Really What He Portrays On His Videos

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As a blog writer, it’s quite fascinating to watch your stats every day.  There’s an entire wealth of information that comes from those figures.  They tell you not only how many people read your blog daily but, also what they read, what they search for on search engines and how much they read of your blog.  Did you know that information is readily available to those who both blog or write articles for newspapers and other sites as well as YouTube video makers and even Facebook pages?  There’s little that one can do on the net that isn’t being tracked by someone, somehow, somewhere.  Even your IP address is being recorded everywhere you go on the net.

Frankly, my concern as a writer is what people are interested in and want to know more about.  Search terms, searches, search engines, countries’ views etc., all play an important part in what I write and why I write what I do.  I want to give people what they are wanting versus telling readers what I had for breakfast or what I did in a day.  Facebook personal walls suffice for that purpose.

More recently, I began to write about a certain YouTube sensation, Ralph Smart (Infinite Waters Diving Deep).  At first, I was hooked in like the many subscribers that Smart has amassed over the 4 or 5 years that he’s been making videos on his channel.  It was only after a while of binge watching his videos that I began to see something in him and his videos that set off alarm bells within me and I stopped watching him, unsubscribing from his channel.  That’s when, out of curiosity, I began doing research into Smart and what I found gave me a larger picture of who this person was and what his true motives likely are versus what comes out of his mouth in his videos.

I began writing what I had found on Smart, my own opinions on it all as well as giving soft warnings to those who are most vulnerable.  Much to my surprise, hundreds of people per day were pouring in to read what I had written about him, having done their own searches on him.  It proved to me that people wanted to know more about Smart than what he was giving them.  Some of the terms that people were using in their quest for more information were also showing me that there are many people out there who are questioning Smart’s veracity as a psychologist and whether or not he’s a fraud.  I obviously wasn’t the only one who heard those alarm bells.  More thinking people had opened up their minds to other possibilities than what they were seeing and hearing from him on his daily videos on YouTube.

Of course, Smart has carefully chosen to hide his net tracks.  There’s not a lot one can find on Smart without having your own sources and digging deeply enough while thinking outside of his box or the one he wants to have you in with him.  Information can be found on him but, it takes dedication and endurance to find it.  It’s akin to putting together a puzzle with pieces being hidden on the floor beneath the table and not knowing where to look.  Sources I followed through with, helped my research to find them sooner than others would have found them, thankfully.

During that time frame, I had written several pieces on Smart as people kept coming in by the hundreds daily, seeking out information on him.  However, his devout fans were less than happy that someone would not like Infinite Waters and his spiels, wasting no time in letting me know that much.  They also felt the need to do an armchair version of psychoanalysis on me as a person having read only one or so pieces I’d written and only on the topic of Ralph Smart (Infinite Waters Diving Deep) on which to form what they believed was the truth about me and put together a crude, rude and lewd personality profile of me.  Sadly, they were so far off the mark that it was pathetic but, laughable for the most part.  A lot of comments were un-publishable, let alone un-answerable because they were simply cursing and swearing or so crudely formatted that no other human eyes would want to read them lest my pieces be considered X-Rated.  I’d simply trash them and go on with my day.

As time went by, more and more of these obviously distressed, delusional and immature individuals filled my in-box with their pitiful attempts to psychoanalyze me but more to the point, express their trepidations that someone was writing something unfavourable about Mr. Smart.  What they didn’t know was the fact that the more they commented in such a distasteful manner, the more that they were proving my points about how much good Smart and his daily videos were doing for people.  It was apparent that though these people were defending what they considered was Smart’s ingenious, enlightening and brilliant pieces, they weren’t exactly soaking it in or, what Smart was spewing out daily, made no difference or even sense to them.  In other words, Smart wasn’t working the magic that they proclaimed he was working for them.

Near the end of January of this year, I tired of hearing the same old and worn out comments from Smart Defenders as they made no sense and were simply foul-mouthed or anger riddled, derogatory remarks that I’d simply have to move to the trash bucket on the server.  I put up a note on each of my entries that I was no longer approving, reading nor, responding to any comments on those pieces.  However, that didn’t sit well with me in that approach either.  It was only after what one can consider the last straw on the camel’s back that I decided I’d had enough of these types of comments and the foul-mouthed commenters and I deleted all except 2 of my pieces that I wrote about Smart.  I’d simply had enough of the negativity pouring out of these less than intelligent people on a daily basis and tired of deleting the comments that were too disgraceful to publish and later, all comments.

Thankfully, I didn’t take anything that they said, personally in spite of the fact that they were oftentimes, degrading me as a person, not even knowing me.  Actually, I was quite amused and had a few good laughs at what they had built into their own bitter delusions.  However, it dawned on me a couple of days ago that what these commenters were truly proving was that I was right about Smart all along.  These very commenters had done the work for me.  They had literally and unwittingly, proven my points for me about Smart’s work and how it affects people, right there in their annoyed, bitter, enraged and deranged comments or diatribes.  Though I still couldn’t publish most of them due to their bawdy and smuttily worded nature, I recognized that Smart supporters were doing a wonderful job of promoting what not to watch or who not to follow in this case.  They were in effect, telling others, what one becomes from watching Smart and what little good Smart’s plethora of videos and advice truly has on people and their minds.  I didn’t have to do anything.  I only have to publish these comments to prove my points.  At least, those that were fit for the human eye, anyway.

It has also occurred to me through watching the trend in search terms that more and more people are now questioning Smart and whether or not he’s legit or a fraud to some extent or another.  At the least, they are in search of more information on him than what Smart has given them or is giving to them.  There’s reason why people like Smart are extremely careful to cover their tracks and only give out what information that they want you to know but, nothing else.  Think about that for a second.  Has it processed through your mind and thinking that anyone who has nothing to hide, will offer up more about themselves than what they will keep hidden?  While some of you might be saying, “but he’s a private person” (perhaps, with explicatives added to that statement), you might want to question that a bit further and more deeply.  For those who are saying, “we know all we need to know about him and it’s all for free”, ask yourself one question, “really?”  Do you really know Ralph Smart based upon his videos and is it really free or is he making money off of your free viewing?  You might be surprised at the answers if you’re being truly honest with yourself.

Yes, Smart has a calming, charming presence on camera in those videos.  What he says during them is also what people want to hear but, he knows that much.  He’s learned it and he’s “acting” for the camera and for you.  He’s saying what you want to hear to keep you hooked on watching. There’s also reason why he’s careful to only let you know what he wants you to know.  You’re not going to find much about him on the net other than what he wants out there.  While some of you are likely saying, “that’s wise to not let out anything personal about yourself on the net”, ask yourself if you can be assured that he’s not created pseudo-names or other nicks or aliases that you’d never know were him.  After all, isn’t that possible?  If you’re still saying “no…there’s no way…Smart is too busy (as he’d say), ‘helping others’ to have the time to do that,” ask yourself if you can prove that to yourself or not.  You don’t need to prove it to me but, you do need to do some real questioning if you’re not questioning him at all. Can any human being always be happy, smiling, calm, not upset?  No.  There’s your answer right there.  Smart isn’t either but, you’re not going to see that in him because he doesn’t want you to see it.  He wants you to believe that he’s found the fountain of eternal happiness.  He hasn’t found it.  He simply portrays that he has for the 20 or so minutes you’ll see him in one of video-a-day videos that he creates.  I can stay smiling and positive for that long.  Everyone can do it.  Smart hasn’t found the answers to Life or the meaning to it anymore than you have.  Trust in that and stop believing that if you watch enough of his videos and follow everything he says, you will.  You won’t.

From my little corner of life, there’s more to a person than appearances will give on the net.  You cannot form a conclusion (either good or bad) based upon what they are saying out here in cyber space.  That goes for me as well.  You don’t know me.  You couldn’t possibly know me and frankly, you don’t know Ralph Smart either no matter how calm he makes you feel.  He’s not who he portrays himself to be in those videos to the world.  He’s a marketer who is out to make money and perhaps, has convinced himself that he’s “helping millions” by doing so.

Have a great day or evening.  Blessings, stay well, Love and Light.

 

 

Can We Be Too Empathetic

I empathize.  Actually, I am an empathy-aholic.  There I’ve said it.  It’s not that I do it on a conscious level.  It comes automatically from somewhere deep inside my brain, I suppose.  I think I have some idea of where it comes from and how I got trained into being this way but, it hasn’t stopped me from doing it yet.

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Being empathetic is a good way to understand others and what they may be going through.  When we draw on our own experiences with issues or situations that we’ve been through, the idea is that perhaps, we can more fully understand and help in some way, those who are traveling down paths that we’ve been down.  At the least, we can imagine what they must be feeling and offer them some form of help one way or another.

Sadly, that’s not how it always works out and there’s good reason for it not always being the case or a help for that person.

We are not that person and no two people are exactly alike.

No one is you or will experience things the way that you do.  Some will take things harder than you would while others will experience those same experiences to a lighter degree than we do.  A lot will depend upon the person, themselves as well as what other experiences they’ve had in their lives.  We’re all created differently.  What soothes me may make you simply annoyed.  What calms you may make me question other things happening because I’ve had a different set of experiences than you and therefore, see and feel things differently.  What your friend, loved one, partner or spouse might feel, you’re not necessarily going to feel the same way.  Vice versa, you may have had a set of life encounters and dealings or issues that your friend, loved one, partner, neighbour or whomever may not have had and you may react far more towards certain things than they will as a result of those things.

Possibly the best thing one can remember or keep in mind is that what you felt during something you’ve experienced, may or may not be what the other person has or is feeling.  Empathizing internally or externally with that person or group of people might be fruitless for them and you because they’re not feeling or reacting the way that you imagine they would be for all of the above reasons.

Trying to feel what someone else may be feeling won’t necessarily help them but, it can hurt you when done too often and to excess.

Each of us in this life will have our own sets of baggage to carry around or deal with.  No one alive is baggage free.  If we’re metaphysical or spiritual or religious, we can put it down to the fact that each of us has a certain number of lessons to learn.  In other words, we need to go through what we have to go through for some Cosmic reason that we’re unaware of as a “lesson” of sorts.

If we’re not spiritually inclined or religious, we can say that perhaps, what circumstances we’re in, we’re in because of choices that we or others around us have made or are making.  If that’s the case, it’s often up to us to either find a way to cope with it or to make other choices wherever possible.

Whatever the case is, we’re all going to be dealt some good and some crappy hands in this poker game we call, Life.  Some will get more cruddy hands than others will.  Is the luck of the draw or our own personal choices or, is it the choice of something or someone else or higher than us?  Often we’ll never know which but we can decide how we deal with it one way or another.

While we can try to give advice or opinions to others we cannot climb into their skin and brains with them or do it for them.  Not only is that not a healthy way for that person to deal with things but, it’s not healthy for us either.

Simply put, we cannot take on everyone else’s burdens, problems or issues too lest we become over-burdened.  Emotional and mental health is fragile when we take on too much of anything.  Certainly, trying to feel what someone else or even everyone else around us is feeling and trying to take some of the weight off of their shoulders, is unhealthy and unhelpful more often than not.  Do that enough times, with enough people and we’ve got a recipe for disaster for ourselves.

Those we empathize with, often move on and out of situations while we’re left feeling dragged out, worn out and depressed.  

Many times now, I’ve worked hard at trying to help someone out of a jam or situation by empathizing with them so that I can draw on my own feelings and experiences to do so.  Unfortunately, I’ve done it with everyone around me at the same time while trying to deal with my own too.  I can say first-hand that it’s not a good nor, healthy thing to do as I’ve been left feeling overwhelmed, burdened, even ill and it’s not solved the other person’s issues.

Worse than that, I’ve found that once I’m a mess, those people I empathized with so heavily, have found a way to deal with their situations and moved on in their lives while I’m laying in a ball, trying to pick up my own pieces.

Human Nature wants equilibrium and will seek it out.

Most people will have to endure some not so lovely experiences.  We all have to face deaths of loved ones if we live long enough to see it or, we’ll all have money issues at some point or another unless we’re born with a proverbial silver spoon in our mouths and a never-ending stream of funds coming our way.  We’ll all feel the sting of rejection from one source or another, one type or another. We’ll all get sick even with only a cold.  We’re all going to die.  That’s the bottom line to Life here.  We’re all going go through negative spots or many.  The reality is, we will all seek out a more comfortable way of feeling and being.  Unless we have a true mental illness that keeps us in one state of mind, we’re going to automatically seek out feeling better and do whatever it takes to feel that way.  It’s part of Human Nature.  No one wants to feel down or depressed forever and we’ll do whatever it takes to feel better for the most part.  Empathizing with someone only takes the energy out of you in this case because:

  1. You can help but you cannot change someone else’s situation, pain, hurt or whatever they are going through.  That is their path to go down.  You can’t change it by trying to feel what they are feeling.
  2. By the time you’ve worn yourself out empathizing, they’ve likely found other ways to deal with their situations or emotions.  If they haven’t already done that, they eventually will.
  3. Because of the first point and the second, you’re doing no one any good except to weaken yourself to your own challenges in Life.

 

Not many will empathize with you in the same way nor to the same extent so, why not reserve some energy for your own struggles? 

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Have you ever noticed that you’re always there for others during their times of crises but, when you need someone or some help, everyone you’ve turned somersaults for during their bad times, is suddenly “too busy” to be there when you need someone?  I’m sure many of us can relate to this one unless we’ve led a rather selfish existence in not helping other soul.  Not many people can or will say that.

Not that we expect something in return when we try to help other people but, we would hope that the kindnesses that we’ve shown others will be returned to some extent or another should we ever need something.  However, that’s often not the case.  The question always begs, why doesn’t that happen?

“I’ve given and given to this person and that person and the other one down the street but, when I needed one simple favour, there was no one around,” you may be saying right now.  “As a matter of fact, the only time I’ve had someone help me, it’s been only half of the effort that I’ve put into them or less.  I don’t get it!”

You’re not alone in wondering why that is but, there’s often a simple answer.

You’ve been far too kind or generous with your time and emotions and, you’ve thought of others in ways that they don’t think about you or anyone else for that matter most of the time.  

If the truth is told, not many people can or will even attempt to empathize with you the way that you have done with or for them.  That doesn’t necessarily make them selfish but, it does stand as a lesson that putting too much effort into someone else, is not only not necessary but, it doesn’t get you anywhere except a lot of being overwhelmed then, frustrated and disappointed.  It’s time for you to turn down the volume a bit on your pouring out of empathy towards others.  That’s not to say that you don’t care about others but, it’s saying that you have to put yourself up there in the ranking of first place because while others may help you, they’re not going to take your problems over.  You need your emotional strength for your own issues.

Some points to remember:

  • It’s ok to understand what others might be going through on a “cerebral level” but, it’s not healthy for either of you to reach down inside yourself and try to feel what the other person is feeling.
  • If someone is in a hole, jumping into it with them (via empathy) is only trapping both of you.  You’re far more helpful to that person to stay safely on the side, being their for them to throw them down a rope so that they can climb out versus you being in there with them.
  • Expecting others to empathize with you in the same way or to the same extent as you’ve done for them, is not only unhealthy but unreasonable to expect because no one is you or can feel like you do and, not many people will be able to or even want to try.  Most people are in this world to look after themselves first and foremost.  Help but, don’t jump into that pit with them because they likely won’t do the same for you when or if you needed that kind of help.
  • There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy.  Sympathy is the ability to feel sorrow for what one is going through without the extra step of actually trying to put yourself in their shoes and feeling what they may be feeling.  Too much sympathy can be unhealthy too but, it’s easier to recuperate from and less intrusive to your life than full empathy.
  • You don’t need to feel what other people are feeling nor, can you really feel what they may be feeling.  As explained above, no two people are alike and even though they may be going through what you’ve been through, their other experiences in life as well as their personalities are going to shape how they react to a situation.  It’s rather fruitless, unhelpful and unhealthy for you to try to put yourself in their emotional shoes because they likely not only won’t fit but, it doesn’t help them or you.  Throw them a rope and let them climb out of the hole they’re in.
  • Look after your own needs first and think about yourself because not many people in your life will be there for you 24/7, trying to feel what you’re going through.  Those who have been there in their own experiences don’t want to re-visit it and those who haven’t, can’t feel what you’re feeling to help.  More to the point, not many will even try.

From my little corner of life, I see helping others as something that should be done when your own needs have been met and you’re able to emotionally be strong.  It does not mean hurling yourself into an emotional tailspin.  No one need do that to help others.  Heaven knows that were doctors, nurses, police officers, first responders, fire fighters etc., were to do that, they’d be crippled and couldn’t do their jobs after one or two incidents.

Do yourself and other people a favour.  Stay healthy by helping others in a healthy way.  Empathy has its place but, it’s limited.

Be well.  Love and Light.