Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Vulnerability of Being Too Open….

If you know me then you know -  I feel everything.  I process things and information aloud.  I sometimes think aloud.  I observe, a lot. I ask questions, a lot.  I’m intrigued by people, situations, and ideas.  I am always on the pursuit of why…

Not a bad characteristic, right? Nah, if it is something benign. 

When you make yourself available to dubious people who are manipulative then there are tragic consequences.  You’ve integrated their shitty Karma.  You then spend days sorting out your role in the situation and what is theirs.  You own what you need to and you figure out your interpretation of what they have done to you.  Ultimately, it is your understanding of the situation that you are interpreting.  You spend your time clearing out their karmic crap…

When you make yourself available to people who want to use you to get to know someone then their interaction is their issue.  I see an introduction as being pretty innocuous.  It becomes a problem for you when their interaction is interpreted as being something you caused then you’ve got to figure out your role in it.  You’ve got to clarify your role, an introducer.  I’ve learned I know a lot of people.  I don’t claim, I KNOW them. 

I have a few friends that I KNOW.  If someone wants to meet someone else then I’m going to facilitate this.  These are people that I know on a surface level.  What I figure is, we are all grown folks.  You’ve gotten this far without me and you are going to get further without me so why should I care.  Keep your big girl panties on, cause I got mine on when I go out the door everyday. 

When you make yourself available to people who want to use you to get ahead then it usually doesn’t work out for them.  What I know is, people can sense a bullshitter a mile away.  They know instinctually something is wrong.  They may fain a meek, Hello.  Their internal instincts know something is going on there.  They back away quickly. 

I’ve learned when I’ve allowed myself to get used by a bullshiter then usually I’m the one who has to deal with it.  I stink to high heaven.  I have to sort thru all the emotional filth they leave behind.  Therefore, I’m cautious about having these kinds of people around.  I trust my gut when I first meet them.  I afford them the humanity of saying hello to a child of God then I will walk away.    

For me, Salesmen are usually hard to read.  They are overly friendly, they ask a lot of questions, they make you feel like you are the center of attention, they hand you the item they are selling, and they work hard on closing the deal.  Here is what I know, they don’t give a fuck about you.  They’re trying to make money.  They work on commission.  They are in it for them.  This contrived jovial relationship is FAKE.  They want you to part with your cash. 

When you are emotionally vulnerable and share too much information then people assess the situation as, “You Crazy”, “Ahh, they are having a moment”, “Get over it”, or “WTF”.  They will adjust their behavior accordingly.  Some will stay and offer support.  Some will look for the exit sign and walk quickly away.

I’ve learned over the years to create boundaries for myself and the people I interact with.  Not crazy, you can never see me kind of walls, but what I’m willing to share or not.  Specifically, with who and whom I am going to share my life and life experiences with. 

I’m learning that trust is not readily given.  I’ve adjusted.  I’m learning honesty is not readily honored.  I’ve adjusted.  I’m learning that integrity is not a value everyone has.  I’ve adjusted.  I’m learning that people sometimes use people.  I’ve adjusted.  I've learned that some people will use you to get ahead for themselves at no regard to you.  I've adjusted.  Not everyone has your back when you are fighting for your life.  I've adjusted. 

It’s a harsh, harsh world out here.  I don’t allow people to circumvent my experience of life.  I like being present in every moment.  I give most people the benefit of the doubt.  I get away from crazy madness, quickly.  I contribute when I can. 

I have learned not to care what people think of my life.  It’s mine.  They ain’t paying a motherfucking bill in my house nor do they worry about it or give a rats ass about it.  Why should I care what they think about how I’m living my life? I don’t. 

I’m not jaded just a realist.  I wish someone told me these things when I was growing up.  I grew up by trial and error.  Fairy tales dreams and being ‘saved by someone’ got washed right out of my head by living life and having experiences.  I’ve protected my humanity and my innate sensitivity throughout all these situations.  I hope one day my son can read these lessons and understand everything I’ve told him. 

Life is what you make of it, now go live it.  Laugh, Love, and experience Joy as much as you can cause these are the things that will get you through those darker times.   Ultimately, you are responsible for how your life turns out.  Finally, even in your darkest moments and when you feel the most alone, God's there.  At least that is what I know….XOXOXO

When comparing is never a good idea...

Comparing Yourself to Others: Horrible Idea!

This is a treacherous thing to do to yourself. Believe me, I know. When you wallow in comparing your life to other peoples then...Self-doubt emerges, insecurities surface, criticisms come to light, etc. All that ugliness you manage every day is there screaming in your ear. At the end of this exercise you lay in a pool of misery. Who won? No one!

Envy – Envy for me is like that bitchy sister who is constantly in your ear telling you stuff. She tells you, “Gurhl, look at those clothes they have! They are much nicer than yours”. “Gurl, look she's got a man and you can't even keep one”. “Gurhl, she's way prettier than you”. “Gurl, look they are skinner than you”. And so on, and so on...

What I think about this person?

Smack that beyatch down! Figuratively speaking.

When those tapes are played in your head then you lose. You lose all the hard work you've done in building yourself up. All the work you've done to get some self-esteem. All those years you spent affirming and learning to be kinder to yourself are out the window.

I've learned to literally say out loud, “Stop!” I know it freaks some people out but it is an automatic stop button. These free flowing thoughts will continue to make their way into your mind. These thoughts are no use to anyone. They are old tapes that are out of date. Not useful. Not productive.

The Story Battle: “Well, I remember when..."

Another emotional activity that I find incredibly useless is when you are engaging with someone in “The Story Battle”. It's when you are talking with someone and they always, it never fails, always have a better story than you, their adventures are more exciting than yours, their misdeeds bordered on incarceration, or they've experienced the depths of despair worse than you. You know the one...

What do I say to their mental gymnastics when this occurs. Now, first, I acknowledge their experience, smile, and walk quickly away. They are headed into a brick wall and I can't stop them.

If they are a friend, I'll try to talk to them about what they are doing but chances are they aren't going to hear me. Friends have told me the same story again and again. What I've noticed is, over time, the stories effect diminishes. Their learning what they need to from it. I guess it takes a few times to truly understand the experience by looking at it from all angles.

What I know is when you stop engaging with this destructive behavior - “The Story Battle” - it helps you, not the inappropriateness of it. It saves you from the mental anguish of digging into the recess of your mind to find the worst of the worst or the best of the best. This activity is not productive to either of you.

Shared emotional experiences are witnessed like watching a TV show. You can empathize with someones journey, but here is the lesson- you can not re-live it for them. You don't know the emotional pain they are in. You won't ever know the darkness they felt. You won't ever know anything about their experience. All you can do is to listen, acknowledge, comfort (if necessary), and celebrate their experience.

What I know is...

When this kind of thinking and people present themselves to me, I'm pretty keen on what is going on now. I know what to do, now. I've fallen for it a few times.  I've engaged.  I've learned.

I'm on my own path of healing and recovery. I can't let someone else throw me off of it with outlandish and destructive behaviors. This includes myself and my old tapes.

It reminds me of the instructions given to you when you are ready for take off in a plane, “Put your mask on first”. Taking care of yourself is essential. Allowing someone (including your old self) to take you off your journey of self discovery is not possible unless you let them. Keep an eye out for this behavior. Cause I know I am..XOXO, Nick