Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘behavior’

People, Places, and Things

Negative Attachments to People, Places, and Things

I was recently reminded how past experiences can attach themselves to people, places, and things coloring our perception without realizing it.

Since my usual dance club has been closed I’ve had to explore other options. One has been the club where I danced when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. For some reason, I’ve found a million reasons to either not dance, or go somewhere further away. Talking to a friend who goes there regularly, it finally dawned on me why.

The years I spent dancing there were tumultuous at best. My divorce, mom’s death, multiple job changes, a couple of really weird dating experiences, and a long-distance relationship. Through it all, I was angry, lonely, and depressed. In hindsight, what passed for friendships reflected the state of withdrawal I kept myself in, ostensibly to keep from getting hurt. Needless to say, going in there brings up all the old toxic waste even if I don’t realize it. Thus, old feelings of discontent and unworthiness come back to bite me in the butt.

While talking to my friend I realized it’s long past time to make new memories in an old place. And it’s time I let all the toxicity I didn’t realize I was hoarding go too.

Behavioral Memories Carried By People

I’m also discovering that new people can bring back old, painful memories. I’m particularly sensitive to the ones who thrive on drama, and even after a long hiatus, have once again attracted and unwittingly fed another one. Of course, they wear different disguises, so it takes me awhile for deja vu to kick in and tell me I’ve been here before. Still, each time it happens I seem to rebound more quickly and with less damage to my own psyche.

I recognize my own patterns. I’m attracted to someone who seemingly needs temporary emotional support. Ultimately I discover it’s an insatiable need they’ll feed, even if, as on previous occasions they have to cause me pain to feed it. This time though my red flags started waving and alarm bells started sounding more quickly. I recognized the pattern and have taken a giant step (or 10) backwards. The current production will be played out without me.

Ending My Role as a Drama Addict’s Buffet

I’ve created a peaceful life for myself. I am alone when I want to be and with friends when I want company. Most of my friends have the usual ups and downs. But occasionally someone who thrives on drama slips in and has to bounce around doing a little damage before I wise up and do emergency surgery to remove the cancerous body, preventing engagement of a tentacle or two.

I suppose I’m a rich feast for drama addicts, having been well-seasoned by my youngest daughter and quite a few others over the years. I’ve been sucked in by my own need to be helpful—to be accepted, all too often failing to recognize the tell-tale signs of someone who lives for the drama they cause. Fortunately, I do eventually learn as this particular lesson never ends well. Invariably, I’m the one who gets hurt, though I’m usually left thinking it was somehow my own fault.

I’m happy to say things are finally changing for the better. I might still play the stooge for longer than I should, but I’m learning to recognize when I’ve climbed onto another hamster wheel. I’m able to take a good, hard look around, realize I’ve been here before and say “I’m done!” But more, I’m able to mean it. I no longer need to repeat my assertions multiple times to convince myself.

Seeing the Message in the Lesson

Perhaps this time, the first step was recognizing how I’d connected a lot of painful memories with a single place, even though, in the years I spent there, it was a refuge and a sanctuary. Somehow, I managed to leave echos of the pain and frustration which colored those years in the very walls of the place without even realizing it. Now that I’ve made the connection, I can start banishing the memories so I can put an end to what’s been preventing me from joining my friends and doing what we all love most—dancing our way into joy and letting all life’s crappy parts pour off us like water off a duck.

As for the rest, I set my boundaries. I’ve learned in the last few years I have a right to expect my boundaries to be honored. I’m neither afraid nor unwilling to take rather drastic action should someone fail to respect them. I don’t see myself going there this time, but know I am able, if necessary. If nothing else, even the drama lovers in my life have more redeeming qualities these days.

People Are Constantly Entering and Leaving My Life

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/4549085259/in/photolist-TBE2Nw-p4EDEt-TtPDPz-T6fYRE-WessCa-5aopSw-7VZfyt-ihp3jf-ekkzYU-dmX7yH-9XZhkA-5aooT5-TdHezm-b2Jtm4-ekkCk7-e2akL2-ekeVB6-k52jg-W218xN-5ahpwJ-9WoYHJ-d8ZSaC-9WVckM-dmX7a8-5a2rPt-bAkTRr-5aoogS-eQjvsU-fKHzgW-VeN9y3-5aimQk-5fy8qh-e2aadv-5anCeQ-ekkB5Q-W9ExL4-9mo7Zz-VZfQY7-fKraHx-aFayE2-ekkDFA-Sn7nK9-55Kh4v-ekeSRt-bk1R1Y-9DZ7ZJ-dmX9XU-RZ7W4o-chvcYj-qwtAJXI go through life forming some attachments and breaking others. Some are meant to last only a short time, others, for longer. All are meant to teach me something, even if sometimes, it’s how to walk away. Some of the lessons return over and over in different forms. I see it as a test to determine whether I’ve  truly learned the lesson, or only learned it for one set of circumstances.

I’ve been faced with drama addicts in so many different scenarios, I’ve lost count. It’s taken me a long time to learn to recognize the signs, and I still fall victim for a little while, every now and then. The difference now is figuring it out and extricating myself long before I suffer any real pain or damage myself. Maybe I’ve learned to withhold the part of myself that is most likely to get hurt until I am certain it’s not another lesson? I can’t really say. I just know my drama meter is becoming nearly as sensitive as my BS meter now. And for that, I’m grateful.

I Still Love the Drama Lovers in My Life, But Cautiously

There will always be people who feed on drama: their own, yours, mine, ours, https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvthe world’s…whatever they can get. They’re not bad or evil per se. They simply need a particular type of high. For some, it’s extreme sports. For others, it’s volunteering their time to help someone less fortunate. For these folks, it’s drama.

I’ve learned to love and appreciate a peaceful life. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs, but I’ve lived my share of extremes, and my slopes are smoother and less drastic these days. Just the way I’ve come to like it. But there are people who need extremes. I suspect there were times in my life I needed them too, to remind me how to feel. Or more accurately, to break through my miles deep walls so I could feel; something, anything, good or bad.

I need no such reminders now. What I do need is to purge those old, battle worn feelings from the places I used to go. As I’ve said in other posts, there’s a time to cut out old reactions and responses and replace them with happier memories—not only inside ourselves, but with people, places, and even things.

Gratitude Will Always Be the Most Effective Tool in My Toolbox

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for opportunities to improve on myself.
  2. I’m grateful for epiphanies which help me direct my energies better.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who help me figure out my blocks.
  4. I’m grateful for tests which help me see where I still have a lot to learn, or where I’ve come far.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hope, joy, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Shutting Down My Own Gossip Girl

Time for an Attitude Adjustment

Created with CanvaEvery now and then I take a good, hard look at myself and am less than pleased with what I see. This week, I realized my conversational pool has deteriorated into gossip. Frankly, the very idea of sticking my nose into other peoples’ business is typically repellent, and yet, here I am, blabbing about the good, the bad, and the ugly, all of which is none of my damned business in the first place. How did I sink so low?

I think in part, it’s another off-shoot of working alone. Most days, I don’t get to hear my own voice unless I’m talking to myself or the cats. Some small piece of myself feels needy, and instead of using the need productively, it’s sunk to the lowest form of communication.

Still, this isn’t an excuse to beat myself up, Instead, it’s an opportunity to see something I can improve upon and start taking the necessary steps to put myself on a better path. Like an addiction, the first step towards fixing a problem is realizing you have one.

Rekindling Self-Love

While working out at the gym, I had time to mull over this shift in my behavior. I realized part https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqof it is a lack of respect and love for myself. Happy, secure people don’t find it necessary to gossip or speak ill of others. They don’t have the time or energy to worry about who’s doing what to whom. That’s not to say they don’t celebrate their friends’ successes. They simply don’t find it necessary to yak about it incessantly. I’ve been guilty of that as well.

I believe the first step in eliminating this unattractive behavior is to re-establish my personal heart link. What I mean by that is, I need to fall in love with myself again. Seeking outside validation, both positive and negative is a clear indication my link is broken and in need of repair.

Perception of Exclusion

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ionics/6338284584/in/photolist-aE6nbG-49a2Xa-TLgW2Q-5wAD6N-HGKPP-8UV6CB-6Sg7YA-9QycpZ-6u4T3X-4sC9aH-5nXKzn-5grmh3-ane6BH-W9uq65-62rxQ-Kud31E-XtaBzZ-LdJuy-LdJvu-ePGUFv-aE6qsQ-LdYkF-8Kvnyj-RdeDP4-6Btbw-ekUyG-eSNDQT-ESpkfb-5U4HwZ-66XHwe-a9LTFX-bWTW3k-4YhDF-2qGQSu-5LpPj-4jpvK-vjdRaC-8L6p5A-6HFRB-5r1qA-4jpvJ-4joXu-5QDfE-7qEysG-4jpS4-24RfjoL-bEFCy1-4joXx-43zSs-2e9RpMMWhen I started looking back on my behavior over the last couple of months, I see glaring indications I managed to miss or simply block out. Times when some of my friends did something without me and I felt sad and left out regardless of the reason for my exclusion. I’ve been feeling especially sad as the annual line dance cruise draws nearer, and will sail without me.

Sure, it was my choice and my reasons are both responsible and valid. Still, as everyone gathers in groups to talk about the upcoming trip, I feel alone and lost, even as it turned out to be an opportunity to attend a writing festival instead. Clearly a win-win for my career and future.

Learning to Re-focus on Qualities Instead of Flaws

I dance at our two-step teacher’s house once a week where there’s a mirror on the front wall. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8225835927/in/photolist-dwTyrn-a3ks33-9mvXys-6ja1gb-9yrH2G-nDdzvx-XUYUcB-5mVAik-aGc4QM-rcaJkB-te2rAP-a7Uq98-3dzbhp-GAf1t-n7eEii-SdF6ND-NpW4QT-Nn4EE7-Q1PXro-6GmuAj-Nb8fd-aGc4LK-5rvjUB-9G5iLz-dViNns-47qcTR-8gCJx7-53s2we-8Amcx2-651TAL-e3ogb6-3Sf9H3-23Jx66D-4beknX-477UHP-Nb8cA-61cxQD-7htzF3-e3tWNL-58nCxm-e3ogk4-27FNZKJ-9NHU1S-i23hC-8Rg5Yu-5tzpF9-CvzijW-Ck2RtR-28aTBt3-MweagTI can’t help but compare my Rubenesque physique to the slimmer curves of my friends, and feel a certain amount of disgust with myself. I know the reason is my lack of self-control when it comes to food, and laziness when it comes to getting up and moving more during my version of a work day. It’s not like someone is standing over me, expecting me to be at my desk working during certain hours. My schedule is flexible and allows for trips to the gym or a walk mid-day. I take advantage of the first, but not the second.

In the past, a silly little mantra was enough to inspire me to treat myself with love, but it’s fallen into disuse lately. I think my mantra needs some updating as well. Here’s what I’ll be using now—what I’ll tape to my bathroom mirror and other strategic places around the house:

I love myself as I am today.

I love myself as I’ll be tomorrow.

I love myself enough to recognize and accept my flaws.

I love myself enough to recognize where I need to make positive changes.

I love myself enough to implement those changes even when it’s difficult.

I love myself enough to refrain from comparing.

I love myself enough to refrain from judging.

I love myself enough to refrain from gossip.

I love myself enough.

Reversing the Downward Spiral

In the day-to-day struggle to navigate the often treacherous highway of jobs, people, and life Created with Canvain general, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative and spiral downward. Learning to recognize when you’ve jumped on a roller coaster that’s not in your best interests is definitely a learned skill, and one I thought I’d mastered.

The funny thing about life is when you think you’ve mastered something and become complacent, you get tossed back on the roller coaster without a safety bar or seat belts. You’re forced to figure out how to hold on until you can safely disembark and get back on track. Sometimes you’re lucky, and the car slows down enough for you to step off easily. Others, you have to take a deep breath, a giant leap, and tuck and roll. Sure, you’ll be bruised and battered, but you’ll be free of what drags you callously down into a place you thought you’d left behind for good, and good riddance.

Thwarting My Demons Over and Over Again

Years ago, I was in a cold, dark, lonely place where negativity and anger were my closest friends. I worked hard to escape that place leaving quite a bit of flesh behind in the process. But though I might have emerged raw and bleeding in places, I healed. In fact, in many cases, I had to break open old, badly healed wounds to get there.

But my demons, like those of so many others are greedy. They didn’t want to let go then, and want to drag me back into their depths now. They look for chinks in my happiness and positivity, and quickly fill them with their unholy mixture of misery and hate. It’s still up to me to use the tools I’ve gathered on my journey to evict them and fill those spaces, once again with love and positivity. Sometimes, that means getting out of my own way and taking a good, hard look at where I’ve landed.

Looking at Myself Honestly and Objectively

As with the degradation of my social skills and conversation, it isn’t always obvious. It doesn’t come on like a hurricane, but instead, creeps in slowly and stealthily when my attention is elsewhere. Often, I don’t see it until something makes me realize I’m feeling downright icky and don’t know exactly why.

That’s when I take a good, hard look at what I’m doing, thinking, and saying and the pattern emerges. I know then I need to first rekindle my self-love, and the rest will follow.

This time, I also know I need to spend a lot more time listening, and a lot less time talking. If I find myself left out of conversations, I have to accept it’s because I haven’t been contributing anything valuable and people found someone less negative and judge-y to talk to. It’ll take a little while to clear my slate of the crap.

Your Turn

Have you found yourself in a place you’ve been before, and aren’t sure how you fell back into old, outworn patterns? What do you do to reclaim your happier self? Tell me in the comments.

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Gratitude: The Surest Way Out of a Deep, Dark Pit

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to recognize patterns that don’t serve me well.
  2. I’m grateful for the tools I’ve acquired on my healing journey.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who don’t desert me just because I’ve fallen into a bit of a cesspool. And I’m grateful for their confidence I’ll find my way back out.
  4. I’m grateful I can find my self-love again even when it’s slipped to dangerous levels.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: friends, family, love, joy, dancing, honesty, support, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, gifts, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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