Why do we Relapse?

Healing, The Self

Okay, let’s say we get it right for a couple of days, for a few weeks, a few months and even a few years. Then at some point during our progress, we relapse, we go back to our old problematic situation – may it be a previous lifestyle, a disposition, relationships, habits, and just the very thing – anything – we have set our mind to get over with for good.

Why does this happen?

I know it’s frustrating and sometimes complex, but the answer can also be as simple as this:

Because we stop working on it.

Any kind of change worthy of our effort needs our dedication just like physical work out. We gotta do it regularly and even level up the intensity if we want to see progress. Our muscles get back to how they were or even in worse shape when we stop working out. We can’t just work out intensely for a few months and expect that it’s gonna do it for the rest of our lives. We need to be continuously on it, regardless if we’re in the mood or not for it, regardless if we feel like we’re getting back to how we were or not…yet. We usually stop when it either gets better or worse – and things are always gonna go either way, anyway.

Healthy habits have to be practiced consciously, consistently, especially when it’s difficult, since those times are probably when we are at our most vulnerable…to hit a wall or relapse.

Many of us think that we can just get over something for good.

Maybe scientifically, technically, yes, there are qualifiers and there is a need to do that as well. But not essentially. It’s a pretty subjective matter and things are open-ended until, well, we die. We just cannot get over our humanity until then. We are always subject to evolution.

Likewise, we may need to stamp on an issue for our own self-esteem and peace of mind, and that is certainly not a bad thing to do if doing so actually helps. However, for many of us, this only puts an intolerable pressure that backfires when we realize we can’t keep up with our own expectations. This only makes us more critical of ourselves and of others which can lead us into another (maybe worse) downward spiral.

What helped me with my struggle with chronic depression and my fears of relapsing (again) was accepting that it’s probably gonna be one of crosses until I die. I am probably more likely to be depressed because of how I am wired and there’s certainly nothing I can do to change that, and I wouldn’t want to, anyway. It’s only after being able to accept it that I felt powerful over it again.

It’s a struggle and also a beacon of light for me, guiding me on how I should be taking care of myself. It’s a constant reminder of all the healthy habits I should be embodying, not out of fear, but out of genuine self-awareness and self-love. It reminds me of how I won the battles of my life, which only proves how indestructible my spirit is, which only inspires me to move forward in my path.

Many times, I have wished, too, of a button that we could simply press to transform ourselves and our lives with for once and for all. But eventually I have realized what’s the point of life then if such a thing existed?

The narratives of our lives are about our struggles, transformations and triumphs. The Universe hopes that we learn to appreciate them more; to see them as beautiful and full of meaning – and to just. keep. going.

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Meet people where They are

People & Relationships

helping

This post was inspired by one of my mother’s closest friends. You see, my mother has always been baffled as to why he won’t accept the help she’s been offering him. She thinks it’s because of his foolish pride. She pities him, yes, and she also looks down on how his life turned out to be.

My mother has sincere intentions for him, and to me, she’s one of the most generous people out there. What strikes me, though, is the disconnect between them. My mother thinks his pride is out of place, on the other hand, I see him as someone who simply prefers to live his life by his own rules. He’s a free bird.  He thinks that any help being offered comes with a leash – and there is also some truth to that. Who can blame him?

Freedom comes with a price – and sometimes it doesn’t look all pretty. All of us who have chosen this path of freedom in one way or another know that we need to give up certain comforts to be free.

To others, including my mom, it only looks foolish. Why would someone prefer that? To someone who depends on human connections and validation for spiritual nourishment, this really won’t make sense. But we aren’t wired the same way. Some people thrive on independence and solitude.

It’s always a good thing to offer help to someone out of sincere intentions. What will happen to us as a society if we don’t have generous people around?

But help won’t be taken, and won’t be of much use if we don’t meet people where they are; if we don’t offer the kind of help they need.

If we really want to help others, and we know we can, we should see them for who they are first – dignified, free and loved.

We cannot help others in genuine ways if we are looking down on them. We have to honor their principles and support them in their dreams. We cannot go around imposing our opinions of what is right or wrong and expect to be trusted.

We cannot make helping others a project –  just to get that kind of feeling good that we believe in.

And if the help we offer is not taken, we should have the maturity to respect that decision. This doesn’t diminish anybody. Even the Divine respects our freedom to choose and ask for help on our own terms – exactly because we are entitled to the life we are living, and we are enough and perfect as we are. We should have the same attitude towards each other as well.

Accept the Insult

Healing, The Self

ego

I recently went through a period of intense disconnect with myself. My self-esteem was at a point so low I even dared to lick every trickle of validation I could get from the people around me. I felt was confused and lost. I didn’t know who I was and what my spirit really wanted to be doing. I sought validation at every turn, and when I didn’t get one, I felt deeply offended – shattered to the bones. I thought the world owed me all the glory I so deserved.

I became too sensitive even to slight criticisms, which were also true to a certain extent, that I isolated myself more and more from the same people I depended on for validation. It became too unbearable for me and I had to shield myself off. Of course, my relationships slightly fell apart as a result.

Now when I start to go on that downward spiral of ruminating all the hate comments I’m sure I’ll get or when I am about to jump start my self-loathing spree – I say this to myself:

Accept the insult. Think about the worst, most horrible comments you could possibly get from the person/people you hate the most and have the calmness to respond with a – I’ve noted that. I hear you. I accept all that you have said. 

Accept the insult. Listen to it. Reaffirm it. This will confuse the one who insulted you and practically everyone around you who witnessed what just happened. But the most confused one will be your own ego. It doesn’t know how to respond to that affirmation and acceptance when it’s been programmed to resort to defensiveness with the intention of protecting you.

When I start to shift my attitude into this, surprisingly, instead of sinking more into self hate, I actually feel more self-loving. The ego is conditional – and this makes us conditional with ourselves and with others as well. It’s programmed to see the world in black and white. The ego thinks that positive feedback is life-giving, while negative feedback is destructive. The ego is avoidant towards negative judgment because it thinks this will shatter our identity and self-worth.

By accepting an insult or any negative feedback about us, we are showing the ego that our Spirit can withstand it, that our Spirit is stronger than even the most horrible remark.

Contrary to what many people might think, this attitude neither makes us delusional nor stubborn to grow. What blocks us from our own growth is, in fact, having our ego run the show by always being defensive. It’s against our own best interests when we dodge feedback only because they hurt us. This behavior is not only making us internally weak, but it also rips us off all the wisdom we might get from those kinds of feedback.

This is not to say that we should be a doormat and just nod our heads when people make a fool out of us. That’s a totally different situation. Accepting negative remarks with dignity and maturity is what I stand for. It’s having the wisdom to know when to step back and detach the remarks from our own core. It’s not hating the people who gave the comments and wanting to hurt them back. It’s embracing our humanity in all its contradictions and imperfections.

It’s about loving ourselves unconditionally – that neither compliments nor insults can change how we feel towards ourselves.

My take on Rejection and what other people say about us

Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

messages

I’ve heard about this too many times – Rejection is not about you. What people say about you is not really about you, it’s about them. I’ve believed in that principle for a long time, but now I would like to argue.

Believing that everything other people say is 100% about them is – a cop out. We’re grown-ups here and we know that there is always some truth in what other people say about us and what we say about other people. Those that hit us the most are the messages that are really for us – they are talking to us. There is no use in blocking other people’s comments – especially if many people are saying the same thing.

Believing that what other people say about us is absolutely NOT about us is like living in our world of delusions, where we are always right. There is no way we can progress in that world.

What will help us, instead, is to listen and assess if there’s any grain of truth in them, then use that truth to change our behavior and our choices. If we’re really honest with ourselves and we haven’t found any, then that’s the right time to let them slide off.