Tag Archives: empathy

You’re Nobody’s Fool: Realistic Optimism

can or cant you're rightIn a culture whose mantra has become, “what you believe, you conceive”, we could use a cold bucket of reality to wake us up every once in a while. While I tend to look on the bright side of things, I wouldn’t consider myself an optimist.  Quite frankly, I think these definitions are too oversimplified to be helpful.

I think we can all agree that being a “Debby or Dan Downer” with things in life can be just as bad as expecting to shit out rainbows for breakfast everyday. Total realism, on the other hand, is like a dry piece toast; edible but not enjoyable. Extremes in any form are not healthy, no matter which way you slice it.

I like to think of myself as a Realistic Optimist which I define as, someone who goes into a situation filled with the hope of a good outcome, but who is realistic enough to know when enough evidence to the contrary says it is is time to walk away.

So, I find promoting the idea that “what we believe we can make true” without any caveatsOptimist-Pessimist-Realist-Quote is both irresponsible and untrue.  For example, no matter how much we may believe and conjure up all our will power, hope, and commitment towards changing someone, we cannot make an individual do something they don’t want to do.  We cannot make them change.  We cannot make someone care. We cannot force love. None of these things are possible through the power of thought.

You don’t need to put up with someone’s crap just because you want to show how positive you are. Or how kind you are. Or how loving. Here’s another newsflash, they are not going to change for you. They are an asshole despite you. You sticking around will only wear you out. It will not cause them to change.

I promise you that they will not wake up one day and say, WOW!! Because she’s/he’s stuck around all this time while I’ve busted up every boundary she/he has, taken all my shenanigans in stride, and given her/himself up for me, I’m TOTALLY READY TO SUDDENLY BECOME (WO)MAN OF HER/HIS DREAMS NOW.

Bengen_optimist_pessimist_realist
Translation: (L-R) My glass is half full. My glass is half empty. My glass is half past eight 🙂 Good German Humor..

It is fine to give someone chances, but have a time limit in mind.  Showing yourself less love will not make someone change unless you want that someone to be YOU. You have not been put on this earth to martyr yourself.  You don’t have to stay in a place that sucks. You can do better. It may not feel like it at first, but being alone is better than having your soul sucked out by someone else who means you and the relationship no good.

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

In Search Of: Authenticity

 

There is such a vast outer world to discover that sometimes we can forget that so many of the great travel destinations are right inside of us in our inner world. In our search for answers, we should leave no stone unturned.

If we want to know our purpose, we have to get in touch with our authentic self.  Inside Out: Travel the World, Find Your Way Back is as much a journey to the see sights and wonders of the terra firma as it is the world within.

Sometimes the people we trust the most in our lives are the ones that keep us from staying in contact with our true selves.

Most of us feel insecure about something, but some people work so hard at hiding it that they create a false projection of themselves to hide behind.  They “disown” the less desirable parts of themselves.

If you get too close to exposing the truth, they’ll flip the script and start accusing you of being all the ugly things that they feel about themselves inside.

It’s a bit like the “All Powerful Wizard” in the Wizard of Oz. A lot of smoke and mirrors and projections.  But when you pull back the curtain you see that there is just a scared insecure little man.

Before we expose the “Great Oz” in our lives  we can waste a lot of time trusting that someone else knows better than we do about our true nature.  If these people happened to be your parents or romantic partners, it can be as devastating to reveal the truth as it is to endure the pain of being caught in this web of deceit.

As children we create dreams without boundaries.  We are innocent and unfiltered.  That kind of authenticity can make some adults feel threatened, even those who raise us.

Your beauty is like a constant spotlight on their shame and insecurity. Your authenticity reminds them that the closest they’ve ever come to that is a projected image (false self) and they want nothing more than to have the real thing.

So instead of facing their own pain they spend a lot of time insulting you in attempt to level the playing field.  They try to tear you down and transfer the ownership of their disowned parts onto you.

If you are a sensitive and empathetic person you’re even more likely to be targeted because you’ll actually seriously consider what people tell you and  reflect on whether it may be true.  Especially if you hear it from those you trust the most.

When you become convinced by their opinion of you, it can leave you feeling as though you’re deficient, broken, and unworthy, well into adulthood.

Your life becomes more about attempting to be good enough for others in hopes that someday you’ll get enough approval and confirmation that you are a successful person despite your inherent unworthiness.  Unfortunately, this is a journey with no destination.

As a child we can’t just leave.  We have to find a way to cope.  Unfortunately, when we grow up we tend to keep coping the same way.  So that even when we could walk away we don’t because we’ve learned how to stay, how to take the hits, how to second guess ourselves.

We’re often left with no clue about who we actually are since we’ve spent our lives being told instead of being given the freedom and the safety to explore that. As a result we find ourselves in friendships, work or romantic relationships that allow us to play a familiar role.

One of the biggest challenges for many people is coming to terms with the fact that they are playing a role in this.  Fact is, this dynamic can only exist with your participation.

For example, if we’re fighting their accusations, it says that we believe it enough on some level to defend ourselves.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t even entertain it.  We’d walk away or say goodbye.

As children we participate to survive, but as adults we have a choice.  It is tough to even realize this if you’ve been raised with the mindset of a victim. You may not even know you’re allowed to take the wheel and choose the direction because no one taught you how to trust yourself and drive.

The good news is that the authentic you never really disappears, it just becomes hidden from view by a thick coat of other people’s disowned parts.

If you feel like you frequently experience a lot of inner conflict as if two parts of you are battling to the death it likely because you hold contradictory beliefs about yourself.  For example, you alternate between believing that you are a worthy person one minute and an unworthy one the next.

These contradictions cannot co-exist in you forever. At some point the internal pressure starts building up and it’s decision time. Something has got to give.

You’ll either give up and be convinced that you are worthless and live your life as a servant to the whims of others hoping to get in their good graces or you’ll  unburden yourself from the emotional baggage you’ve carried for others, give it back to them, and live an authentic life in the driver’s seat as YOU!

In order to define success on our own terms and live an authentic life we must let go of what was never our burden to bear.  When we release that, our authentic self begins bubbling to the surface.

Get to know her/him again in all her/his awesomeness!  You may also find that you will stop participating in these toxic relationships in the same way.

Very often , people notice that when they stop complying to the whims of the toxic person, there are a lot more insults and/or silent treatment, bad-mouthing and smearing flying their way.

Believe it or not this is a good sign.  It means that the toxic person feels threatened that they may really lose you as a supply for their ego.  Remember in the past when they used these tactics, it worked and always brought you back to them.

Hold tight, you’ll make it through.  And if at the end of it all the person no longer wishes to have you in their life, then you will have learned a lot of valuable lessons.

Authenticity will remove the people from your life that do not truly love you or have your best interests in mind.  In healthy relationships each person is important.  It is not parasitic; one person does not exist to feed/sustain the other.  You’ll also make room for other loving and authentic people to come into your life.

Ultimately, you can continue being your sensitive and empathetic self, but with boundaries that don’t allow people who mistreat you the privilege of being a part of your life.

Authenticity means knowing, loving and accepting your true self.  When you respect your authentic self, other people will no longer define who you are.  You already know.

It has taken me a long time to realize this and as I break free and unburden myself, I find myself traveling more lightly through this world.