I think the real question we need to ask each other and ask ourselves is this…..wherever we are in chronological age, do we have the same moral compass, the same opinions about other humans, race, sex, love and war that we did even a decade ago. How often and what exactly is the process for changing our opinions?
Without rules or an agenda today, my mind entertained me with questions and “answer” periods which seemed more like flashes of understanding. While I don’t really apologize for opinions I have honored through the decades of my life….they are illusions, anyway….thoughts and illusions of how I saw things based on how I showed up in each moment. These thoughts and illusions have changed often and each new declaration of opinion has been a barometer of my life…often liberating and somewhat painful.
I’m not really sure where to go with this thought process right now. I wonder if the answer is looking deep within ourselves individually and as a society in order to uncover what has made us angry, intolerant and hateful. When did we forsake humanity for selfishness and fear of “the other guy”? When did it happen in our personal timeline….when did fear become the prevailing emotion? Where, when and how does it stop?
I write this with a sticky thumb from the sticky knife I’m using to eat from an old cream cheese frosting container as I goop it on saltine crackers. It all started last night and I knew it was going to be a serious one because I don’t eat sugar…so not only did I know that it was going to be unhealthy, mess with my blood sugar and cause sickening sugar heartburn, I gave in. I was actually rather irritated that I couldn’t use the graham crackers in the cupboard that I bought for a graham cracker crust for Thanksgiving day dessert…..because you see frosting and graham crackers have always been a go-to for triggers. So the story I told myself to make it better was…see…..I do have SOME discipline!
I am learning that triggers are reactions to discomfort within. Something or someone irritates me, or causes me to feel discomfort (sad, envious, hurt) down there in my heart or in my head and I react with either bitterness or hatefulness, profanity or a number of articulate sentences meant to hurt the person who hurt me….and thus “it” (which I believe is instant karma) begins.
I respond…it hits a wall….the response exacerbates already tender emotions and I respond …. and as the volley is returned, it brings with it the memory of another “something” I reacted to which moves even deeper into my body damaging and disrupting everything in its path until, there just doesn’t seem to be any choice left other than removing the lid from a brand new container of cream cheese frosting….
Now that’s not exactly how it worked last night…last night I felt lonely, I felt frustrated because of the pandemic, I felt very sad that I will not be with my loves on Thursday and I felt intense anger that there are people out there too damn selfish to put on a mask to save someone else life.
on the phone this morning…..This is really the first time I can remember that I’ve lost control with a business on the phone. But I know it happens after 30 years as a 911 dispatcher.
This business was in charge of sending me medical supplies in June…I received them in August because they were shipped to a different person in a different city who happened to be different gender. A couple phone calls to their business office, I learned that I was wrong because their records showed that the supplies had been sent and received by me because their computer said so. I finally was able to make my case with someone with “service skills”.
But the story does not end there. They send me a bill but had not filed with my insurance….said they had…but my insurance company said nope, no they haven’t. 2 phone calls and 3 emails later, I gave up because their business office told me I was wrong because the computer said so. Ok. Whatever. I didn’t feel this was my problem anymore. I had my supplies, they didn’t have the money and I had kept documentation of correspondence.
Until the phone rang at 8am this OCTOBER morning from the company telling me they were having trouble filing my insurance because they had the wrong information for me.
My kind and professional demeanor moved to the back seat as I let loose unloading on “Tara” what I thought of the company, their lack of public service and my frustration level which seemed like she could probably figure out depending on what her computer told her. The anger just flowed very smoothly from my mouth to her ear and you know what…I felt better. I’m sure “Tara”, NOT wearing HER public service voice, did not go to work armed for rampage this morning. I remember how it felt to start my morning with a yeller, but my guilt is only about a 2 on a 10 scale. And so, I leave the frustration right here, right now, Dear Diary. I don’t need to carry it with me…
I’m learning to opt out of participating in human drama whether it be in my own head or participating with all of my senses with everyone else here on earth. This has actually brought me some peace of mind during the pandemic as I have removed myself from politics. I read the headlines in order keep up on what is going on in the country? What I am finding is when I actually “click” on the occasional news story nothing has changed from the last time I clicked. There is only fear-generating expressions of opinions!
Each fall, members of Unity Village Chapel read the same book….individually, then many of us join together in small groups to discuss the book. This one, Embracing Uncertainty Chapter 3, had me overwhelmed with insight. Thus the cut and paste project I worked on last night. It was a very effective way to concentrate on energetic phrases from the chapter to cement them on my heart and in my soul.
“Expectations create attachments…a hope something turns out a certain way”
Often we are unable to let go of our expectation….
“Expectations carry disappointments rigidity, anger, impatience and obsession”
“The moment expectations appear in the form of hope, desire or a wish, close your eyes, take out the imaginary scissors to cut the cord of expectation. Release it like a balloon drifting away from you.”
Our Spirit Group facilitator, Mary, helped me through an emotionally challenging, teary discussion by having me switch to referring to myself in the 3rd person rather than as I. Using this process (while cumbersome at first) really works in taking the sting out of words. Later on, during a counseling session, a therapist used the same method with He and I which made honest conversation easier to acknowledge.
Here’s an excerpt from an article I found from Psychology Today:
“When using third person or “non-first-person” pronouns during self-talk, you do not use pronouns such as I, me, or my. Instead, you speak to yourself (either in a hushed tone or silently inside your own head) using pronouns such as you, he, she, it, or your own first or last name. In recent years, a wide range of studies has found that third-person self-talk can improve emotion regulation and self-control by facilitating self-distancing and reducing egocentric bias”
Years ago while learning to cope with and live with my relationship with my mother, I began to refer to her in conversations by her given name. While I absolutely did not have the gonads to call her Helen to her face, I recall the feelings of less lethal emotions when I gave myself permission to not refer to her with the beloved name of Mom. Of course, mom wasn’t actually the name she preferred…it was Mother. It’s highly likely that Mother is a loving name spoken from children to their beloved. But in my case it was a “formal” expectation which was another knife wound that separated mother and daughter.
In a FB conversation with a friend this morning, I referred to mom as Helen….and that’s what brought this whole train of thought coursing through my brain like a slow meandering stream. Use it if it feels good. We all have uncomfortably charged conversations
I was recently on the receiving end of tears…I wasn’t really sure why I was crying but I knew I was triggered because something needed to be healed. I started writing things down and found myself here..at the blog space. There are sadness tears that fall, say, funeral tears or just extreme loss and sadness tears. Those tears don’t seem to need anyone to “control” them. I just need to hold a space for them until they dry up.
There are anger tears. Anger tears seem to have a purpose for me. I think of them more as rage tears. Rage Tears deserve their honor in a place of respect, cleansing and healing. I welcome rage tears because they protect me from myself…its really hard to keep a volatile situation volatile when one person is crying and not contributing to the dark energy.
Sometimes there are those incredible laughter tears…for me, those are usually accompanied by the inability to breath and sore stomach muscles because it is just that funny.
And there are love tears…empathy tears, I have such deep feeling tears. Those tears may start and end abruptly or they may lead to a softening which often leads me to music and a feeling of gratitude.
The embarrassment of crying in front of someone has it’s home in your ego…your small self…the fear that you will appear weak, emotional, any of the society’s stereotypical label. Crying is not a girl thing, women’s work, unstable, not masculine…crying means you are strong. Not feeling embarrassment about tears means you are a warrior! I am strong and I am sensitive and I know how to love!
I grew up with a “hurt” mother…she spent 53 years mentally hurting me. After several therapy sessions and a lifetime of turmoil and guilt about how I felt about my mother, someone told me that hurt people hurt others. 4 little words that gave me profound understanding. I worked 30 years as a 911 dispatcher…it’s ironic that the skills I learned to deal with my mother aided me in being a compassionate and caring dispatcher. MOST OF THE TIME. It also fed my cynical nature that people are just shit! Seriously! In spite of frequent verbal abuse, I learned how to take it and be firm but also kind.
These experiences taught me from childhood to retirement that people treat you better when you are kind. Better being an operative word. There are a lot of angry and “hurt” people out there. Many would not define themselves as hurt…they are just tired of perceived shit. So they are angry at everyone else and I’m sure many of them haven’t the slightest idea that they need to go into themselves and find out where it all comes from…all of the pain, years of being slighted, years of never being good enough, perhaps years of physical or mental abuse.
I have found that when I am around “hurt” people, it does no good to repay anger with anger. It is much easier to just remove myself physically and mentally and be kind. I used to think just being kind when being treated badly just caused me to be a doormat for others to wipe their feet on. I realize that is only the case if I get caught up in the mistreatment and allow it to continue. If I walk away AND release the negative emotion I’m feeling, I will not become an angry and cynical being. We can always be kind.
In my spiritual journey, I find there are so many topics, themes, opinions, beliefs that are universal among new thought books/authors, teachers and gurus. As I have drilled down on these topics, I have found that this stuff makes total sense as opposed to the fundamental beliefs of the preachers, teachers, opinionated male dominant hierarchy teachings that have been used to control the multitudes for thousands of years. The bottom line is that we…as in everything on this planet…are connected. Each human being is connected as one and is reliant on all of nature to keep the balance. Everything is connected.
All of our angst, feelings of superiority, insecurity and hate…everything that isn’t love…is fear. And fear comes from that little voice in our head that is constantly talking to us…we can call that little voice…the ego. All of our fear thoughts originate from stories we tell ourselves. I’m ugly, I don’t fit in because I have a big nose, I don’t like someone because they looked at me a certain way…on and on and on. These stories we tell ourselves are not the result of what someone has DONE to us but actually is that “something” buried deep within us. So we revolt. Often, those things about ourselves that we recognize and “don’t like” are exactly the behaviors in someone else that causes us to be locked and loaded when triggered into an angry response and behavior. A simple example…the friend who thinks they will be safe from everything by having rules for everything….built in protection…if I can control it with rules, it can’t hurt me. If this friends behavior crosses your invisible line of acceptance of your rules and he/she irritates you, is it because you have very fixed rules for the perception of safety and you are triggered. The friend that doesn’t wear makeup….do you judge her because you are insecure about the way you look and never leave the house unless embellished? Is she wrong or do you need to examine the insecurity within yourself that she triggers? In general we judge or dislike someone who brings out the insecurities we are hiding.
The illusion of the need to protect ourselves comes from a long history of experiences in our life that may have hurt our feelings, damage us physically/mentally and made us feel unsafe or not good enough. We attached emotion to those “things” and initiated protection alerts for our hearts. It all seems so complicated but is actually very simple. If it is not love based, it is fear based and we have the capacity to change the way we think.
It hasn’t been that long ago that I “mentally” attacked the woman who held up the line in the checkout at the grocery store counting her pennies, checking every grocery sack before she put it in the cart and then left her shopping cart sitting in the middle of the parking lot rather than walking two cars down and putting it in the corral. I mentally insulted her with my thoughts about her buying a case of diet Dr Pepper and the fact that her shirt wasn’t long enough in the back to cover her caboose.
This event has played several times in my head since it happened because I knew I needed to think through my reaction realizing that my irritation level and my anger at this woman was blown out of proportion relative to the experience. I, now, have a pretty good idea why this triggered me …. it would have to do with my embarrassment and irritation watching my mother behave in a similar way as this woman. I loathed the way my mother treated other people with smugness and disrespect depending on how she perceived their station in life.
I have found that the first step is recognition realizing what triggers me from my past. At this point, I really believe that when we behave badly or disrespectful whether it be in our thought process or actually follow through with hurtful, angry or self absorbed verbal comments, we are really reacting to our own insecurities which triggers behavior, perhaps, learned in our upbringing.
Working through this scenario in my head is part of my continuing process of becoming more loving, kinder and more mentally positive in my everyday life. And these little blips of our humanity are just that….little insignificant blips.
Life lessons are just like peeling an onion, those of us who have finally grown up realize that …. to put it nicely….we just don’t have tolerance anymore. The drama and other people’s bad manners is just not appealing and crowds the emotions and patience inside our heads. I didn’t invent this theory, I’ve heard it over and over. “I just can’t deal with BS anymore”.
My childhood job was as referee for my parents relationship as one and then the other would come to me each bitching about the other. As a child, I realized my parents didn’t like each other very much and I didn’t think I could stand not having both of them living in the house so I spent copious amounts of childhood energy trying to make everything better. I am very good at it! I also learned that kindness was equivalent to a fireman’s hose on a house fire so I learned to be a good girl and shove my emotions down and not let them manifest in anger. I knew what anger felt like and sounded like.
I’m now 61 years old and I’m finally recognizing and peeling that onion of anger in my gut one layer at a time. I’ve learned coping skills for the depression and anxiety that fueled my life and now, now I’m taking on the anger. I’m finding that I have to work through each layer with internal questions…why does this make me angry, what actually is happening when I’m feeling angry, how do I appropriately deal with this anger and then take action to work through it….things past and present must be quieted either by speaking up or cutting off the offending hand.
….as soon as I worked through this plan of action, I felt lighter. My first challenge is to no longer consider myself a victim. I have choices.