Dealing with Divorce, Still

Psychology, Social

Fighting off the world with insecurity is a tough thing to do. It’s impossible to ignore. There’s something in you that craves constant validation and reassurance because of the part of you that doesn’t believe that the truth could be happy. Imagine this: your parents divorce during your pubescent years, you go through middle school with everyone smelling your family’s dirty laundry. You ignore every bit of hurt, and pretend like it’s all “normal,” whatever that means.

Over a decade later, it still affects you, despite all your resistance. Some days, you feel on top of the world. People look at you like you’re someone to admire. You convince yourself you’re confident, and there are moments that you truly believe you are the person you’ve always wanted to be. Then something happens, you find old photos of when you were younger, you remember what your dad said that one holiday, and the pain comes back like a shot, coursing through your veins. You’re reassured what you really are: flawed.

These kids often present as being mature, but in truth they are emotionally and often socially immature. They are frequently more emotionally needy then they come across and they are behind their peers developmentally. They have spent a large portion of the lives learning how to please others without really learning how to master fulfilling themselves. This mask leads adults to misread the kid’s sense of self worth; thinking they are doing fine when in actuality, they are hurting inside.

How Children Cope with High Conflict Divorce: How are they harmed and what can parents do to help them? By Bob Livingstone

Growing up, you wanted nothing more than a normal family. You wanted a mom and dad who showed up to games or rehearsal together, and after you wanted to have dinner with them both without conflict. Then you grew up, you let the pain fade, tucking it away in the attic of your brain. You’re an adult now, you go to work and pay bills like everyone else. But you’re not like everyone else. You notice the difference between you and the peers around you who have parents that are still together. It doesn’t matter to you if they’re happy or good, what matters is that is something you never had.

Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are 300 percent more likely to need psychological help within any given year than teens from intact, nuclear families. Children from divorced homes may have more psychological problems than children who lost a parent to death.

Statistics About Children of Divorce By Wayne Parker

You have to help yourself.

Some days, the thought crosses your mind of your parents still being together, grieving over the figurative “death” of your first family. Doesn’t matter, everything that unfolded was necessary, and the way to heal is to recognize the feelings that have been ignored for so long. It’s a painful, ongoing process, but one that must be done in order to have successful relationships with others in the future.

If you can’t help yourself overcome your own demons, seek help in others. You have friends, family, professionals, etc. There is an endless support chain wanting to help you heal, because believe it or not, people want you to be happy. Your parents, even if they don’t say it, wish they could’ve been better to you. Yet there is no point in ruminating in the past, the thing to do is face the present and change the future.

It’s possible to trust, love, and share with others. It’s something you may have to spend a lifetime working on. You’re so used to “dealing” with your emotions yourself, it’s scary to open yourself to others. Ironically though, sharing your truest feelings in turn makes you more confident, comfortable, and relatable to others. So yes, you didn’t have the conventional idea of a childhood or parents, but you still have you. You have the ability to accept yourself, the parts that are bruised and scarred along with the shiny other bits.

Shame on All of You

Health, Psychology

It’s hard for humans to communicate. We spend all day talking to each other, but how often do you say what you’re really feeling? Either you spend your time thinking of various ways to express your emotions, or you don’t express them much at all. You put on a smile and nod, playing pretend in a superficial world where it not only matters how much better looking you are than others, but also how cool and smart you are. So, it all makes sense. When you point the finger at someone else, when you’re angry at the world for wronging you, when you ask yourself, Why don’t they like me? That you feel shame.

Shame is an incredibly painful and self-deprecating emotion. Shame hurts so deep that for some, it goes unnoticed. The thing is, just because you ignore an emotion, doesn’t mean it goes away. If you ignore shame, it will project onto others because having someone to blame for why you feel shame provides a false sense of control and superiority. The emotion is still there.

If the shame remains unacknowledged, a person may decide to focus on another emotional state, an act of emotional substitution. For example, a shamed person, unwilling to acknowledge the feeling of shame can become angry with someone else, making other a kind of scapegoat for self-blame. […] By not focusing on the shame and attending to other emotions, we lose the opportunity to understand the forces at work around us and within us.

5 Factors That Make You Feel Shame by Shahram Heshmat Ph.D.

In a previous article, I talked about how shame can cause hubristic pride, believing yourself as better than others, acting as if they were inferior. This pride is a coping mechanism for shame. You wonder where all this shame comes from. When you were a child, there were times you make a mistake or forgot to do something. Instead of focusing on the action or how it affected the people around you, your parents would tear down your self-worth. That’s a stupid thing to do. You don’t listen. You’re going to fail if you don’t do this correctly.

Still, it’s not just your upbringing. Shame is also related to your self-confidence and your need for control. It’s natural, the urge for some type of control over out lives. We want to know a reason. We want solve problems. We want control, and shame is unfortunately a byproduct of that. Because when you blame yourself for why bad things happen to you or why people treat you poorly, you think that you can fix it by changing yourself. Controversially, if you’re someone whose manifested your shame into pride, you’d blame everyone else for the painful feelings of shame you feel, and spite them because that’s how you’re able to control your emotions.

When we feel shame about something we’ve done, we’re probably much more reticent to speak about it or acknowledge it in such a way that we can rectify our mistakes. Guilt, however, is much more of an actionable emotion—when we feel guilt, we are more motivated to undo any damage we’ve done or try to make up for our errors.

Strong Leaders Experience Guilt Without Shame by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.

Many people transpose shame and guilt. The main difference is that shame is about one’s self, whereas guilt is the result of your actions unto others. A person who feels shame from an action tears at their core thinking, I’m stupid, I’m lazy, I’m not good enough. As person who feels guilt about their action thinks about others, I let them down. I made them feel bad. Sometimes, you can feel both shame and guilt.

There is no way to prevent these emotions from flooding into our mind, they are every bit as necessary to our psyche as happiness and pleasure. Don’t ignore these emotions. Understand them, work through them, know why you feel that way. Allow yourself to feel the pain of shame and guilt. Let it flow over you and dissolve, like most other emotions. There are things you can and cannot change. You can’t control everything, but you can work on understanding yourself, and why you feel the way you do, especially when you don’t like it.

You Do You

Philosophy, Social

Persistence is key in following the path to success, but along the way, you may put too much value on others for guidance. Whenever you’re unsure of something, rather than trying it yourselves, you’ll ask others for advice or assistance. You forget, however, that despite their knowledge in wisdom, the situation of others differs from your current state and you must try things your own way in order to know what’s best.

There are only so many hours in a day, and days in a year to accomplish everything you’ve ever wanted. Most days, all you want to do is forget the world and avoid your personal responsibilities. It’s easy to judge others because it distracts you from your own faults. You care about what others think, and how to present yourself. You don’t allow yourself to try your way due to the risk of failing.

“What one person considers to be true about you is not necessary the truth about you, and if you give too much power to others’ opinions, it could douse your passion and confidence, undermining your ability to ultimately succeed.”

Five Ways To Make Peace With Failure by Susan Tardanico

For example: I’ve never golfed in my life, and recently, my husband has been learning how. We went to the range. I’ve never been good at sports, so naturally my expectation for myself was low. My husband gave me some tips on how to stand, hold the club, and how to hit. I’d go through the whole process in my head: straightening my back, breathing deep, and keeping everything else in check. And of course, I’d miss.

The heat was peaking on a Saturday afternoon. There weren’t many others there besides us. Suddenly, something inside snapped. I cared so much about doing things right and not embarrassing myself, I hindered my own ability to do better by not fully trying. I let go of my insecurities. I pulled the club back with the twist of a hip on an inhale. Then, swinging with exhale, and I hit the ball, straight. A sense of accomplishment rushed over me and I accepted that I was indeed capable of doing it. I still missed many shots, but when I was able to do it correctly, I did it right.

After our practice that day, I learned something about myself. Because I cared so much about not letting myself fail in front of others, I was too afraid to try. I didn’t trust myself or my own ability. Isn’t that something we all do? You don’t want to pursue your dream because you don’t want to make a fool of yourself in front of others. You want to fit in, even subconsciously.

Stop caring and be self-reliant.

“People who act with self-reliance feel more in control of their environment, and feeling this way is an important ingredient of well-being. […] Being self-reliant means doing things for yourself. “

How to Let Go of the Need to Be Perfect By Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D.

There are certain things in life to care about, like family and friends, but most things in life don’t require that attention, especially negative things. Take all those negative thoughts that are buried in your subconscious and push them out. Don’t dwell in your mistakes, regret your decisions, or fear your failure. It can be difficult. We are human and it is in our nature to questions and probe, especially our own rationale.

Often, you allow ourselves to care too much about the opinions of others. You let them decide what’s best for you because they must know what they’re doing. They’ve lived longer and have a certain level of success you find admirable, so when it comes to trying something outside your expertise, you look to others. You forget that although their situation may have been similar, it’ll never be the same as yours.

Do what you want and don’t apologize for doing what’s best for you. Of course, that doesn’t mean to be malicious and do wrong upon others for your own benefit. Rather, when you stop caring so much about pleasing others and being perfect at what you do, you’ll succeed.

Pride and People

Philosophy, Social

Humans are guilty for succumbing to the innate vices born within. While most of us know the seven deadly sins that derail us from our daily venture, we often neglect that they exist, believing that we aren’t wrong. Perhaps, the most difficult part of being a creature with emotion, is admitting when you’re wrong, especially when your pride is hurt.

Having pride in who you are isn’t necessarily a bad thing, rather it turns negative depending on the founding reason behind it. It’s natural, considering all that you’ve been through to achieve what you have, to convince yourself you know what’s best. The hardest may be admitting that in certain situations of which you’ve been wronged, that you weren’t exactly right.  

Out of the seven deadly sins: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth, I’ve found Pride to be the most psychology damaging. Pride takes away the faults you see in yourself. If you are unhappy and angry at the world, it’s because of everything else around. Your actions then morph around the idea that you are simply better or “different” than everyone else. Of course, you’d never say that, but it comes out in how you treat others.

A more genuine and stable self-worth is based upon validating, affirming, and valuing ourselves as we are. Self-worth is a function of living with dignity, which exists apart from any accomplishments. Achievements are ephemeral and can become a trap. If too much of our attention goes toward accomplishing bigger and better things in order to feel good, then we become addicted to external sources of gratification.

Why Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud Of by John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT

Two Types of Pride

Authentic pride. People who are confident, agreeable, hard-working, energetic, kind, empathetic, non-dogmatic, and high in genuine self-esteem would draw inspiration from others and would want to be emulated by others.

Hubristic pride. [People who are] associated with rocky relationships, low levels of conscientiousness and high levels of disagreeableness, neuroticism, narcissism, and poor mental health outcomes. [Their] subjective feelings of superiority and arrogance may facilitate dominance by motivating behaviors such as aggression, hostility, and manipulation.

Pride and Creativity by Scott Barry Kaufman

In seeing this, someone with hubristic pride would consider themselves to have authentic pride because ironically, it would be their pride that kept them from viewing themselves in a negative light. How do you know what type of pride you have then? Here are some signs:

  • Incessant need to teach others: You impose your way of learning onto others, rather than letting them find their own way. You genuinely feel as though it’s helpful, “sharing your knowledge,” but doing it consistently, particularly when others don’t ask, is a form of asserting your dominance and superiority.
  • Ignore advice: Despite all you debate about regarding a decision or situation, you don’t consider the words of others because understanding other people’s perspective is not of value to you. You talk about it only to self affirm you’re right.
  • Constantly Critical: You point out the negatives in people and their actions, yet these critiques don’t apply to you. It makes you feel better to point out the faults in others because of the shame you feel for your own.
  • Obsessed with Aesthetics: Vanity is a type of pride. When you equate your physical appearance to self-worth, you demand the attention of others. You want affirmation and attention to feel of value. You find passive aggressive ways to make others feel guilty about your condition like, “You could be fit like me,” or “I look so fat.”  
  • Avoiding efforts of communication: Holding grudges, resentment, and cutting people out of your life are all evidence that you have hubristic pride. By ignoring people, you deem them not worth your time, disregarding them as a person and labeling them as inferior.

In the divided opinions of today, people are quick to label others without understanding their perspective. There is a right and wrong, and if someone doesn’t agree with what that means to you, then they’re immediately lesser. We all deserve to be treated with respect, so we must treat others respectfully. In letting go of superiority and accepting humanity for what it is, we uncover the truth about ourselves.

Freedom, Independence, and Loneliness

Philosophy, Social

Outside, the sun shines through clouds, tempting those stuck behind a window, wishing they could feel it on their skin. As a prisoner of responsibility, one is never free of anything. There is always something keeping you back. When we think of freedom we think of it as having the capability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. Of course, the case isn’t true with the average person: there’s work, family, pets, bills, and so much more that we’re responsible for.


Freedom consists of three main principles:

1. The absence of human coercion or restraint preventing one from choosing the alternatives one would wish.

2. The absence of physical constraints in natural conditions which prevent one from achieving one’s chosen objectives.

3. The possession of the means or the power to achieve the objective one chooses of one’s own volition.

Rashan John, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India

What happens when you don’t feel free? You feel helpless, ashamed, weak, and hateful. Worse, it’s a feeling that you don’t often recognize. I know, because I’ve been there. Out of the three principles of freedom, I’ve felt most influenced by human coercion. Then again, who hasn’t? We all have family members or friends who tell us what we “should” and “should not” do. Everyone thinks they know better and constantly impose their way of thinking onto you.

At first, you’re rebellious, but after countless comments and hours of influence, you give in and become a person you never wanted to be in the first place. Better than that, you’re not allowed to dislike it. You’re not allowed to oppose others on how you want to be or act for they “know better.” You’re told that this it’s good for you, that these people care about you. In losing your ability to say no, you become miserable because you never thought you’d end up the way others wanted you to be.

Most people aren’t free, so they don’t want you to be. Your dream isn’t realistic because someone older and wiser couldn’t achieve theirs. You should care about making money more than doing what makes you happy because that’s what everyone else did. You can’t do what you want because you have other responsibilities. When you give into these notions, you normalize the negativity and spread it to others.

For a while, I thought freedom and independence were symbiotic. If I gained independence from others and control over my life, I’d be free. While it’s true that these two things coincide with one another, there’s a fine line to walk along when trying to find yourself without losing relationships. The pursuit can be lonely. Loneliness is life threating to a person’s psychological and physical state. A person can feel lonely in a room full of people, in a marriage or family. Being lonely means to feel disconnected, unable to share your thoughts.

“That solitude which we often lament in our life with others betrays our misunderstanding of its meaning. We live together failing to recognize what unites us. Thus even the smallest offense becomes a pretense for breaking down the bonds of trust.”

2019 An Epidemic of Loneliness

It’s difficult to share the pain with others. Especially the type of pain that comes with feeling out of control of your life. There are so many things we are all blessed with, and to express some negativity about how you feel in your current state, makes you feel guilty. You convince yourself that everyone around you is right and you are wrong, thus disconnecting from them because they couldn’t possibly understand.

Take Control of Your Life.

Humans have limits. If we aren’t capable of knowing our limit, our body will do it for us. Breaking the hold of those keeping us back is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough just to set yourself free. You need the support of the ones you love once you make your decision. Without people to share your highs and lows, you can feel lonely. But your loneliness is dependent on you. People do want to listen. They want to help. There are those out there who do love you and any decision you make. You have to just have to allow them to.  

Success: A State of Mind

Metaphysical, Occupational

Going after one’s dream is a difficult journey, taken by the brave. Filled with obstacles and naysayers, doubt will always surround your vision. It takes mental strength to persevere and stick with your passion. Fortunately, we are in the right place and time to make our goals happen.

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

American psychologist Joyce Brothers 1927-2013.

When we were children and asked what we wanted to do when we grew up, we all had an answer. Even if it isn’t something that interests you now, you had a dream and a passion. As we grow and transition into adulthood, our dreams slowly get placed on the back burner while we take care of everyday priorities.

Most of us still try to be who we want to be, achieving what we’ve always imagined we could. It just gets harder to do so. Over the years and layers of responsibility, our perception of dreams changes from being the future to unrealistic.

Use the Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is the theory that your thoughts and desires will eventually turn to reality. If you think positive thoughts about your goals, you will in turn be guided to find the ways to achieve them. If you think negatively about your aspiration, they won’t come to life the way you want them to.

“A large part of the Law of Attraction is learning how to be an open, happy person who vibrates on a high frequency and induces a positive response in others. The way in which we spread good attitudes toward other people and attract kindness, generosity and success can be partly explained with reference to mirror neurons—neurons that ‘mirror’ the behavior we observe.”

6 Science Facts That Prove That The Law Of Attraction Exists By Katherine Hurst

Throughout history, this notion has been deemed true. What goes around comes around, you get what you put our there, etc. Here are some tips to help in reframing your successful mindset.

  • Set Realistic Goals: We, as people, can get carried away with our extravagant goals. I’m going to lose 30lbs, I’m going to write a book. I’m going to make six figures. Dreaming big keeps us motivated because we love to fantasize. To make it reality, we need to outline and take reasonable steps to reach our large dreams.
  • Remain Positive: We’re all afraid of getting our hopes up only for out deepest desires to be denied by the world. Keeping a realistic perspective doesn’t mean sacrificing hope. Put what you want out there in the world, and you will received it.
  • Make Time for Yourself: Going after what you want in life can be time consuming and demand lots of attention. You have to figure out juggling this while dealing with all the other joys life has to offer. Don’t forget to take a moment for yourself, a day or weekend, we all need to take a break once in a while.
  • Find Your Support Network: Metaphysical poet, John Donne (1572-1631) said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Whether it’s family or friends, we all have someone who loves and supports us. Cherish and thank them every so often.

What defines success: money, love, fame? Ultimately, success is what you envision your life to be. It’s about being who you want to be and go after what matters most to you. Find your success and keep working for it.

Our Perception of Time as We Age

Epistemology

The days are long and the months are short. One day, you’ve graduated high school, the next day you’re married with children. Work feels mundane and repetitive because it is, and the time you have off flies by like it was never there to begin with.

Feeling as though life is passing you by is unnerving, like you’re out of control of how quickly everything is happening. Interestingly enough, physical time–minutes and hours–has remained the same our entire life. What changes is our internal perception of how time passes by.

Scientists reason that our perception of time speeds up because we’re not learning as much information as we did when we were children. Many adults do the same thing every day, week after week, and although routine is necessary for success and stability, it doesn’t always engage our brain’s stimuli.

Some events from our childhood can feel more memorable than events that occurred recently. This is because when you’re young, you experience almost everything for the first time, and doing something for the first time is usually always memorable.

When you are young and experiencing lots of new stimuli—everything is new—time actually seems to be passing more slowly. As you get older, the production of mental images slows, giving the sense that time passes more rapidly.

Physics explains why time passes faster as you age By Ephrat Livni
Why the Days Seem Shorter as We Get Older By Adrian Bejan

Slowing Down Time

Physical time remains the same, but our perception of time is changeable. There are ways to combat the inevitable acceleration of life, and how it seems to fly by before us. Two important elements are health and education.

Doctors usually say the something similar to, “Get a good night’s rest, eat healthy, and exercise.” Usually we all nod, and forget what he’s recommended a month later. If you want your day to last longer, it might be advantageous to start taking this advice.

Sleep is not only necessary for your brain to rest, but time goes by faster when you’re dozing off while half awake. Eating healthy brain food is critical for energy, function, and processing information. Exercise doesn’t have to be at the gym, it can be a new outdoor activity you’ve never tried.

Memory is short-lived and many of us just aren’t that engaged in the everyday things we’re doing, so if you slow down and engage more in the moment, and look back on everything deeply later, you may find time lasting longer.”

Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD from Why our sense of time speeds up as we age — and how to slow it down By Nicole Spector

Learning something stimulates the brain and changes our perception of time. When the brain doesn’t have lots of information to process or it’s processing the same things, time feels faster. Learning new information doesn’t just have to be out of a book or a documentary. Experiencing different things, going to new places, meeting people, and engaging in spontaneous activities are all forms of learning.

If you feel like your life is flying by, take a moment to look at where you are and what you’re doing daily. Make time to learn something new, find a new adventure, and take care of yourself. We only have one life, don’t miss it.

Positive Thinking with Self Awareness

Health

The power of the mind is both an exhilarating and terrifying thing. Some people enjoy their inner monologue, often getting lost in thought. Others prefer to keep themselves busy with tangible tasks because they don’t want to face what they’re thinking. The mind can take a person down dark paths. One negative thought can lead to another, traveling down a rapid spiral that is difficult to get out of. Finding a way to maintain optimism may seem impossible and insincere.

The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80%  are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.

80 % of Thoughts Are Negative…95 % are repetitive By Faith Hope & Psychology 

The Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist

An optimist is someone who is hopeful, even if the chances of success are stacked against them, some would consider these people, “dreamers.” Let’s give an example about asking for a promotion, the optimist would say, “I’ll definitely get a raise.”

A pessimist is someone who believes that the worst will happen in any situation, these people are sometimes called, “downers.” If a pessimist is going in for the same promotion, they’d say, “They’re not going to give me a raise.”

A realist is someone who recognize as situation for what it is, finding the best solution, they tend to rely on data and facts to make decisions. When a realist asks for a promotion, they’d say, “I’ll show them my performance report and that’ll convince them.”

A realist can also combine their traits with an optimist or pessimist. An optimistic realist is someone who prepares success logically, but still wishes for the best. A pessimistic realist will go into success with all the same preparations and still think the worst will happen.

While it’s necessary to look situations rationally, there is always room for positivity. The Law of Attraction is the idea that you get what you put out there . “If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.” The difficult part is in believing that this could be true. When I first started hearing this notion, I thought it was dull and cheesy. It was only until years later, in my adult life, did I start to implement this practice.

Although we’ve been told this idea over again, why is it that there are so many reminders to have a positive outlook on things? Because the daily stress of our lives bring us down and we let them. As we aim to achieve more in our age, the more complex and heavy our responsibilities become. Day after day, it wears down on a person, slowly chipping away at the light inside, the one that struggles to maintain lit.

Self awareness is the key to combating negativity.

Being self aware means taking responsibility for your actions, understanding you’re not perfect, and that you’re ultimately in charge of who you are. It’s a process that needs to be practiced daily. When a person is self aware, they aren’t upset at the world around them or convinced that there is only the worst to come. A person who is self aware gains control of their life, because they don’t hold on to negativity.

Instead of mindlessly browsing social media, watching TV or playing games (which I’m guilty of too), take a moment to reflect, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Meditate, contemplate, breathe, and learn from your own actions.

[Self awareness] requires a deep understanding of your past and current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us. 

Know Thyself: How to Develop Self-Awareness By Bill George


Putting out positive energy is just as powerful as negative energy. People who practice self awareness find ways to be more positive in their lives, because like realists, they learn from past events and apply them to situations in the future. One can still be optimistic while being realistic. In reframing your personal outlook on situations and opportunities, you might find your goals and dreams fall into place. Consider you who are, who you want to be, and what you want to achieve. It’s always the right time to start.