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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Sometimes what we really need is Solitude and some serious inner work, not Catharsis

Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

communication

When I was in my early twenties, I used to obsess on getting my communication “right”. I just had to come to the person directly or put my thoughts into writing to “clear things up”. I neither stopped to assess whether she/he was ready for it nor if I should even bother talking about the issue at all. I thought I was being mature. Because I was a writer, I even thought that getting into the roughest details was a gift I was offering. When I wasn’t doing those, I would turn to my friends for a ranting spree. To my surprise, more conflict only gravitated towards me as a result, and those people who I sincerely wanted to be in good terms with only end up hating me. Voila! I have hurt them in vain.

There are still times, even at this point, when I would be “completely honest” thinking that that was what was needed to iron out a situation, or to give myself peace of mind, only to find out in horror how bad an idea it was.

On the other hand, I’ve been able to resolve deep seated issues without ever talking or writing to the person who I felt has hurt me or talking about it with anybody. I have successfully worked through them myself, armed with my connection with the Divine. It may have taken me years, and even decades, to do that, but I know that there’s no better way to go through my healing, anyway.

I think I’ve pretty much lived long enough and I have fucked up enough as well to assess both scenarios.

Now I am in a pretty confident place to say that communication with others is not always necessary for closure and healing to take place (nor does ranting about it). It may not even be beneficial.

Here are my points on why I think that is so:

1. First of all, let’s be honest, a heart-to-heart dialogue is not really the rule in our reality, but an exception. 

Thinking that it should take place before healing or resolution can take place is a sure and fast way to disempower ourselves. We are never in control of anybody else, and expecting them to cooperate with our idea of “mature resolution” only hands them the upper hand. By doing so we are trapped in convincing them to behave and feel a certain way first before we can get to our desired disposition.

We need to validate ourselves instead.

2. People are usually in different levels of consciousness. 

Yes, even if they’re identical twins who have lived their lives sleeping in the same bedroom.

It’s not merely about experiencing the same situation differently, but more importantly, having different abilities and filters by which to perceive and interpret life experiences in general. People have, more often than not, extremely contrasting interests due to a variety of factors like their age, nationality, temperament, upbringing, current struggles, how they define pleasure, how they want their life to be, and so on and so forth.

The reality is, sometimes, some people just won’t be able to meet halfway. Sometimes we just can’t be on the same page with another person and no amount of “honest talk” can change that.

Sometimes, the only thing that can heal up a conflict is, as the cliche goes, time…and I would add, mindful silence.

Forcing people to reconcile at this stage usually only backfires.

3. We need more time to process our emotions than we usually think.

When I mean more time, I mean, we sometimes need years, decades even and tons of life experiences in between for our thoughts and emotions to percolate.

Sometimes our initial opinions and feelings about what just happened/what is happening are not really what we’ll find when the dust settles.

This is why barging through the door and airing out our opinions, prematurely, sometimes only stunt or totally annihilate whatever resolution is brewing underneath.

Sometimes what we need is to reach a certain level of maturity first to view the same situation in a more realistic way.

4. Some Many things are better left unsaid. 

Expressing ourselves without filters on can feel good. But this movement about “be yourself, express yourself” doesn’t teach us to embody this with caution.

Well definitely we can be in-your-face honest with a few people who we can justify this behavior with. But when we are talking about people who matter to us and who we have genuine, caring relationships with, taking this advice at face value could do more harm than good.

There are some things that, may be true for us, but that may just hurt them to no avail. We need to check with ourselves first and ask, “Will expressing these things move our relationship to a deeper level? Will it lead to a better understanding of some sort or will this just blur out my good intentions?”

We need to be cautious about the thin line between “brutally honest” and “brutally critical” if what we really desire for is a peaceful resolution and a higher level of awareness (many times “brutally honest” won’t even make the cut.)

Sometimes, taking a step back, is what we have to do instead to save a relationship and/or all the goodness that are worth saving.

5. Sometimes what we really need is solitude and some serious inner work, not catharsis. 

Venting out our emotions may feel good, really good. But it doesn’t always lead to integration and growth.

In truth, getting into the habit of talking about our issues, may even be the very thing that holds us back and keeps us in a cycle of frustration.

By not taking enough time to be alone with our own thoughts and feelings we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to know ourselves more. If our initial response to them is to turn to others, instead of listening to them in the privacy of our own spirit, we will surely miss all the valuable information they have in store for us which can guide us into making decisions and changes that are good for us.

Likewise, crises’ purpose is to usher us into a higher level of consciousness. They’re meant to assist us in remembering our true divine nature and what life is really about. On the surface it may look like we’re having an issue with another person, but if we take the time to go inwards, we’ll always see that it’s pointing at something about ourselves that we need to heal.

I’d say any day that addressing that internal issue first is more important than working on resolving an external, interpersonal one. Efforts put on the latter before the former would be futile, anyway.

Communication with others is not always necessary for closure and healing to take place. It may be a part of them or a result of them, but definitely not a prerequisite. We all have the capacity to go through these processes on our own – and sometimes, in truth, that’s what we need to be doing.

Bask in the Sunlight, it’s your Divine Right

Faith, Life path, Manifestation, The Self

fruition

A mango tree never berates itself for not bearing fruits yet, even though many have long been waiting. It knows that a time stamp has been implanted in its Spirit back when it was still a seed. It anticipates its own blossoming, but doesn’t obsess about it. It knows how to appreciate all the stages and cycles of life.

It doesn’t ruminate and struggle with low self-esteem or ennui during the years that it has to go through without bearing a single fruit. It knows its already worthy and loved as it is.

Related post: In Praise of Divine Timing

Harnessing the power of Sisterhood

People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

sisterhood

One night, as I was video-chatting with my SO, again (we love talking about such stuff), about the differences between heterosexual men and women, I casually told him, “Women hold hands all the time and hug each other, even out in public and it’s fine – why don’t men do it?” To my surprise, he gave me a passionate and straightforward response, “Because you’re weird.”

I think men, in general, find it peculiar that women’s friendships are usually intimate. We can talk for hours, we can spill the juiciest, tiniest details about our personal stories, we have a tendency to keep each other updated about practically almost anything. We can be so tight with each other that we can literally create our own world.

There was a phase in my twenties when I couldn’t even make sense of my own thoughts and I couldn’t come into terms with my own decisions without talking first to a close girlfriend. I usually had one at a time who knew how I worked inside-out.

Female friendships, I would like to argue, are complex, even more complex than men’s. We sense this subtle tie that binds us across generations, nationalities, religions – and so on. It’s like we are part of a secret society and we know the password to enter the gates of our sacred sanctuary. Our Spirits nod at each other when we come across each other on the streets. We magnet each other; we are fascinated by each other. We inspire each other; we make each other laugh. We feel each other’s burdens, ’cause we all share one major struggle. We have, indeed, our own world, though it feels more like an underground world at this point in time (which only makes us bond more to a certain extent). There is a strong pull to merge and experience each other to the core.

On the other hand, we compete against each other. We criticize and pull each other down. We betray each other. In female friendships, there is a tendency to lose one’s identity as well, to lose the capacity to think on our own and to make decisions for ourselves. We are prone to expecting that our sisters, our daughters, our mothers will be just like us – or else, they’re not one of us. Those who dare to stand out and own her identity can sometimes be seen as a nuisance, a disgrace – a traitor. We tend to expect that each member of the sisterhood will always and forevermore disclose her most private feelings and thoughts – that her story will always be owned by the tribe.

I’ve taken a step back from female friendships (including the one with my own mother) for quite some time now, and that’s how I developed my own voice. There is value in thinking for oneself and in not sharing one’s thoughts, emotions and struggles with anybody. It makes our Spirit more mature – faster. It makes us sharper in identifying which identity, energy, opinions and decisions are truly ours.

During this phase of detachment, I had the opportunity to observe and reflect more on female friendships as well. This force that pulls us together can either strengthen or destroy us.

We share one major struggle, and therefore, it’s only right for us to harness the power of this force to create a united front – to stand by and stand for each other in life and in death, in success and in failure, in joy and in misery.

We should use the tie that binds us together in pulling each other up, and in empowering each other to be ourselves in all our unique glory.

We should never silence each other in the name of Loyalty to tradition and stereotypes. Rather, we should be the source of each other’s courage to speak up, stand out and shine.

By having the freedom and support to bloom into our full authenticity can we only harness this force, this power of our Sisterhood.

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.