Posts Tagged ‘Health’

“What does tomorrow hold?” you may wonder. “How is it going to work?” you may ask. Such thoughts are the daily bread of most people and as such, cause us to live life with perceptions and ideas that may affect us positively or negatively. A flurry of emotions are triggered by such questions, and rarely do we become level-headed and just figure things out, instead we tend to raise our blood pressure and temperature and sometimes even our level of foolishness at the onset of such anxious thinking. (more…)

At some point in my life, I noticed a few traits within me that I never really liked seeing from anyone else, yet they were alive and well in my own mind. I saw how I sometimes treated people and would later say to myself, “Why did I do that?” with much confusion in my heart. I would be insulting, degrading, and extremely harsh in my remarks to some people; not being able to handle incompetency, or lack of understanding. Now, I must say that I’m already a pretty blunt person (as some of my posts may portray), and I believe in ‘saying it like it is’.  Of course, that was my excuse.

Unfortunately, doing what I did was not the final nail in the coffin of my realisation.  What really got me thinking was how other people responded to the way I was.  I noticed a few traits within them as well.  On the one hand, they did what I asked them to do; completing tasks, or learning a skill I required (demanded) of them. Yet on the other hand, they resisted me in most forms of relationship outside the tasks at hand. They were afraid of me. It is then that I reached the conclusion that even though the work was getting done, it wasn’t out of people being productive, it was because I made them do it! They weren’t inspired, innovative, energetic, or even happy… They were just jumping because they had to…or else! Their incentive was not progress, it was survival. They weren’t trying to please me, they were trying to appease me.

What was happening here? I wasn’t a leader… I was a manipulator. I thought I was in control, and I was right; just not in control of me. I controlled everybody else with my temper. And so it is with all ‘manipulators’. They become gods demanding sacrifices at their altars ‘or else’. That ‘or else’ can be different for everyone, but in my case, it was “or else I’ll tell you how terrible your performance was…and you know i do that well…because I tell it like it is!” Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?

Truth of the matter is, I probably got it from somewhere. We all did. Wasn’t it our mom who said “clean up your room or else…”? I’m sure you were in the room with me when dad told us to pass our tests with flying colours, or else he’d lock up all our toys. All of these seemingly minor occurrences were the seed-bed of habits and thought patterns that would probably change the way we acted, especially when we were exposed to the extreme forms of them. Parents or siblings that showed capacity to abuse us, got us into “abuse avoidance mode”. That abuse could have been verbal, physical, or emotional; but when we knew it was coming, we did everything to avoid it…including doing well! Or else dad got angry (and we always knew what that meant), or mom would be sad and cry and complain about how we don’t appreciate her. It was all a form of manipulation, disguised as parenting!

A manipulator puts a person/people in a place where they are no longer doing something out of their free will, but out of fear. Not only that, a manipulator messes with your whole concept of incentives. Your rewards aren’t personally motivated anymore, because when you’re under a manipulator, survival is success! Manipulators think people love them, truth is, people are scared of them! They are masters of deception, because they get you to think you’re motivated, but actually you’re anxious! What they do is very similar to some torture techniques (OUCH!), where all they offer is relief (from the negative emotion they’re inflicting), as an incentive for co-operation. Yes they can reward in better ways, but they make sure their best form of motivation is your escape negative emotion.

They make brilliant leaders!
They’re usually go-getters (slave-drivers)…
Motivated (highly strung)…
Focused on the vision (abusive if you aren’t)…
Produce excellent results (get what they want)…
Goal-oriented (resulting in loveless conduct)…
And are usually very clear on what they want (or else!!!).

It's YOUR fault this is poorly done! Why can't YOU get it right? What's wrong with YOU?!

If you manipulate like this, I bet people talk behind your back about your flaws more than they confront you… I bet you keep discovering that people are scared of you… I bet you defend yourself when someone highlights your mean tendencies… I bet you would’ve used “accuses you of” instead of “highlights” in the previous statement… I bet you have fewer friends than you’d like… I bet you’ve justified it with how well you’re doing… I bet your successes still don’t cover how you actually want to be more approachable… But I bet you keep sabotaging/undermining that desire with your bad temper!

Those are just the aggressive manipulators! These are the ones that lash out at people, usually a boss (because they are bossy!). People run from them in fear of their random volcanic eruptions…which leave these dark clouds of ash over everybody. You probably work for one, cos with them all you worry about is “I hope I don’t make them angry…” because that’s what they say all the time. They love lines like “I’m getting angry… I’m very disappointed… I don’t understand how you could do this…” I’m sure some of you know a few of those, and none of them is you. You may be right, but there’s another version of the manipulator: Passive.

The passive manipulators are just as bad as the aggressive ones. Same M.O. They put you in a position where their emotions become your master. But they are soooooo clever about it.

Ever meet a person who just seems sad all the time, or has many bouts of depression? Ok maybe you know a lot of people like that, but ask this question: Ever find that you can’t say anything negative to them? Or you have to be really careful about how you confront them? Or have you found yourself almost having to compliment them much more than anyone else? When they’re around you, you feel this need to cheer them up, or make them feel part of the group? Know anybody like that? If you do, then you know a passive manipulator!

The trick is the same, but the expression is different. These manipulators leverage the opposite range of emotions to aggressive manipulators. They’re already low, but make you feel responsible for it! Passive manipulators don’t have the ‘fear factor’ like aggressive ones, but they are quite fearsome in their technique. All the questions I asked two paragraphs ago, are ways of finding out whether someone is passively manipulating you, or if you are a passive manipulator. Usually the goal for someone like this is attention. They want to be seen, or heard, or taken care of, or have things done for them. Encountering someone like this over time, you’ll hear more about their struggles than their victories, and you’ll find yourself trying to cheer them up all the time.

With the aggressive, you fear the blow-up; with the passive, you fear the break-down. Whichever side it is, it’s wrong.

I read an article in Psychology Today that really helped me see this in myself and others. The wording used to describe this manipulation was this:

People who can’t control themselves, control the people around them. When you rely on someone for a positive reflected sense of self, you invariably try to control him/her.” – David Schnark

When your feelings, anxieties, and insecurities are always out of control, they probably control your relationships. You teach people to put up with you all the time. You have to be right in the argument to assert yourself/Wrong in the argument to justify your lack of self-esteem! It’s not fair to the people around you, and it undermines you completely. Manipulation is scary, but so common, because it is common for us to have little control over our emotions, or their manifestations in our character.

Manipulators (speaking to myself as well), you must learn to control yourself! Self-control is a priceless gift to all those around you. Nobody said you can’t be angry, just don’t manipulate people with it. It is YOUR JOB to sort through your emotions…nobody else’s. So refrain from putting that responsibility on others. Stop telling yourself that “they make me angry!” That is the biggest declaration of dependency you could make. You’re not really in charge in that state, your emotions are…and that’s not the best for you or anybody else.

What we need is to decide that our emotions won’t get the best of us, and those around us. It’s not something that changes overnight, but it changes! Really that’s all you need to know… That if you embark on a journey of self-control, you WILL change for the better. Nothing is stopping you, well, nothing except your habit of submission to these habits. You’ve taught yourself to be a slave to your emotions, and now everybody else is! It’s what we grew up seeing, and believing was the best way to do relationship. The only reason it ‘worked’ in those we saw doing it, is probably because you were manipulated into thinking that!

Manipulation starts to end when you think of others more than yourself… When you realise that your style or personality can actually learn new tricks like listening before blowing up, or not blowing up at all… When you learn to speak encouraging words to yourself, and allowing others to affirm something already within you: self-belief. Let people be themselves around you, and where they falter, teach them how to be the best they can be…not how to meet deadlines!

i-Manipulate… when i have no control of myself.


Popular Train of Thought

It is interesting to note what people would define ‘life’ as. We even have phrases like “Life happens”, “That’s life”, or the popular “Lessons of life”. It seems that most times, life is what happens around us, or what happens to us. Events take place and are placed in the category of ‘life’; parents treat us a certain way, and that’s ‘life’; the place we grew up in is a segment of ‘life’.

Often I wonder when and why we determined that ‘life’ was everything that happened outside of us. I don’t dispute that our experiences are ingrained within our minds and for the most part motivate our actions. However it just seems a little off that we define this thing called ‘life’ through things that may influence us, but are not us. Think of it this way: a man named Fred has a car accident, a terrible one. He develops a fear of driving because he might be in another accident, so he decides to take public transport and taxis. When people asked him why he doesn’t drive anymore, he says “Because I of the accident, I didn’t want that possibility again. It’s safer this way.” (This is actually a true story for a few people I know)
Something clearly happened to him, that happens a lot around us, and from that event, he chose a way of living that he believed was a good enough response.

Now, every time you ask Fred, you’ll hear about the accident, and how terrible it was. Most times you ask people how they ended up in the place they are in, they’ll tell you about what happened to them growing up, or with a friend, you’ll hear about their “accidents”. The events have shaped their lives, and indeed this is true for many of us. However, I’m of the mind that life is not what happens around us or to us… Life IS US!!!

Life is what takes place within  you as you face what happens to you. Life is the decision you make when you hear a certain phrase, or go through a traumatic period. Life is you saying “I will never…” or “I will always…”! Life is your heart’s response to the environment around you. The feelings you have, the thoughts, the inner scripts that play in your mind when you go about your day, these form life. The events are just influencers of life, they are not the entirety of life.

When life becomes about the events, you’ll notice that you take less responsibility for your response.  If you asked Fred why he never drove himself, he’d tell you about the accident, and elaborate on how bad it was…but you’d never hear him talk about the Fear he had and that he couldn’t deal with it. The accident was an influencer, but Fear was his response, and the decision to take public transport was based on the Fear, not the accident. I hope you see what I’m saying. Life is the internal activity that responds to external elements.

Now, if these external elements are just influencers, then they can also damage us. I’ve read many times how the body has this natural ability to heal itself; that it basically does almost all the work of restoring itself after injury. 
When you break a bone and put on a cast, the  cast just keeps the bones in place so that the  body can do what it’s supposed to do. Some medications do the same, by promoting the body’s natural reflex to a disease or instability. I bring this up, because I wonder: if the body can heal itself (albeit sometimes with help), then can the human heart/mind do the same thing? Stuff is happening to us all the time, and some of it brings us to the conclusion that something’s terribly wrong with life, and therefore ourselves.

If our bodies come hard-wired with this ability to restore themselves, do our minds come with it too? If someone has been dealt a bad hand in the way they grew up, what ‘cast’ can we put on their mind that would promote brokenness to be mended, the positive overcoming the negative?

Unfortunately, because of background, or negative influence, we develop scripts that can destroy our lives, and dictate every single decision we make. No longer is it just the external influences, our very own subconscious becomes an enemy, poisoning every experience with that negative script! Leading to a decision that just takes us deeper into pain, breaking us even more.

But what if there were words we could speak over ourselves, exercises we could do to train our minds/hearts to overcome these events, and still make a decision for the good of our lives (and even those around us when we have families). What if Life could heal itself? It’s all over nature, with trees overcoming harsh weather or surviving fires, plants naturally taking in negative carbon dioxide and filling the air with positive oxygen for more life to grow. It’s already happening all around us!

Successful minds, have this knack for beating the equations of brokenness. Some of them coming from destructive backgrounds, and yet achieving so much in their lives that many would look up to. They have a way of seeing the possibilities, more than their past. They can still create dreams when they should be having nightmares! What would it take for you to adopt that kind of thought pattern?

I’ve understood that some people are more aware  of their possibilities than others. Some people, just don’t know they can live better, believe more of themselves, or achieve greatness in any way. The external elements never provided them with those possibilities. Yet, one trick was to find those possibilities in any way shape or form, even if it didn’t come from their own experiences, then learning to believe that those possibilities could be their own. Never an easy task, but it’s just one way.

Can your Heart heal itself?

Can your Heart heal itself?

I’m not going to say I know all the answers, but I’m definitely looking for them. Life is what’s within us. If our bodies, which house this life, can heal themselves, then I truly believe there is a way for Life to heal itself within us as well. Any broken bones need a cast, or else there’s a risk that they set badly. I know another kind of ‘set’, and that is the mind-set! How do we promote its proper setting in the case of brokenness? I’m sure I’ve covered some ideas in this blog before, and I’m positive there are many more ‘heals’ for us to experience within us.

It’s a high-speed chase, to be Hot on the ‘Heals’ of Life! It requires a great ability to be self-aware. Knowing your emotions, and being aware of the decisions you make in a situation, the feelings that go with these processes, and understanding when you’re dealing with either a bad experience, or even worse, a badly set mind!

The journey is immense and requires massive accountability to self, and those we love…but it’s a journey worth taking.

The Maze of life is full of dead-ends. Some stay there and become what the environment dictates, but some choose to turn around and seek a new path and determine life for themselves. To be a success you’ll have to take responsibility for your actions, but when Life is defined by what happens around you, it’s harder to take that responsibility and own the life you live.
However, when Life is what is inside you, your essence, your being…then making great choices – and even dealing with poor ones – becomes something within your grasp!

Live the life you chose, not the one that your past had planned for you!

And even if something has gone wrong, Life has some healing mechanisms in place, but you have to apply the right ‘cast’ for them to work in your favour. Maybe the ‘cast’ could be positive affirmation, the memory of a success you achieved, a picture you’ve kept, or even the words of someone who believed in you. Whatever it is, it will help you ‘heal’.

Are you hot on the ‘heals’ of Life?


Really? Is the title is true? Yes it is! The Maze knows it very well. You probably do as well. The loss of any desires for the future, will kill off the flame of your heart and keep you on pause, or even rewind! The truth is that our hopes actually do a lot to shape and structure our worlds. Their effect on invisible things like health, joy and peace of mind is so real that we can’t ignore the power of having Hope.

Hope is what we look forward to in our lives. We “hope to have a degree”, or “hope to be married with children”. It’s the image we aim for, and work towards. Sometimes, Hope is not something we actively plot out, but is just a picture we hold on to, giving us light on a dark day, helping you overcome hard times by painting a picture that is still a possibility beyond whatever pain you experience. When we embark on anything, having Hope keeps us engaged and active with life. In other words, it’s a great motivator for whatever it is you’re doing.

Living in this earth requires us to have Hope, because each day could be a brush-stroke in your life’s painting and you want to be sure that there is still something beyond the immediate that helps paint the picture more clearly. Should failure happen, or some unforseen event, Hope keeps you centered and…for lack of a better word…Hopeful!

Hopelessness is different from Depression. They may seem similar, but there is a definite difference. Depression refers to the feelings of sadness, loss, anger or frustration that become so intense they interfere with your daily activity over a period of time. Hopelessness, however, is tied to having no expectation of success of good in your life. When used to describe situations, they are believed to be incapable of solution or management. Some people actually live this way, being rendered immune to remedies or cures due to their Hopelessness.

A study was done on  “Hopelessness and its Effect on Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Participation Following Hospitalization for Acute Coronary Syndrome“, and the results were that patients who experienced Hopelessness were less likely to continue with their rehabilitation. It’s also very interesting to see how Depression affected someone’s committment to the program. Predictions would say that Depression decreases participation, but amazingly, Depression actually increased participation.

What does that mean? Well, it’s just a study done in one setting, yet it shows something very important. To lose Hope has much farther reaching effects on a person than to lose their happiness or joy. That’s because Hope connects you to the future, and the future gives purpose to today. If you lose your connection to tomorrow, then there’s no point in growing, there’s no point in learning, or understanding, there’s no point in reaching, there’s no point in the entire present tense!! Think about that for a second.

You lose Hope, you lose your sense of living! It’s simple and yet intensely hard-hitting! Hope is the ingredient thrown into your tragedies that has a ‘bounce-back’ effect… It can turn any sad story into super-story… It gives you strength to endure the pain of growing because there’s a reason for it all. It connects today to tomorrow. It can validate experiences that otherwise would be pointless and worth forgetting. To lose that Hope, that painting, that vision, that wish, that dream, would be to kill off your life-support!

Every breath you take leads you to the next one, every day, ends to make way for the next one. Life itself is one big canvas of Hope. Once that realisation is lost, you enter a downward spiral of denying life’s natural Hope-giving power. You have to ignore the processes taking place around you that are ushering you forward, and eventually you will convince yourself that there is no tomorrow. That can only take you to one place.

You can figure where that place is for yourself… Read the title!