Hope for the Broken Hearted

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For there would be no sunrise without dark nights, … , no restoration without brokenness.  

 

Life is unpredictable.  The only thing constant is change, just like the four seasons.  And much like the many parodies of life, the human heart is so intended for contrast that, without one, we would not comprehend (appreciate) the other.  For there would be no rainbow without the storm, no child birth without pain.   If we follow this reasoning, it is possible to grow seeds of joy in the soil of sorrow!

As the famous author C.S. Lewis so aptly put it – a heart that is so sheltered from the possibility of wreckage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

What’s wrong with an ‘irredeemable’ heart?  To answer that question, rather let’s ponder on “What good is an irredeemable heart?”  Can it spread forth unconditional love; is it capable of genuine magnanimity, let alone, even appreciate true love?   See the picture?  An irredeemable heart is a heart of stone, impervious, insensitive, and incapable of growth.

Hence, perhaps we need to suffer the agony of a broken heart before our heart can be restructured and restored into a more beautiful heart.  Given that, I’ll gladly have my shabby heart wrecked and shattered.  So it can be restructured into something more splendid than before!

Though the process is painful and uncertain, knowing the end result is reason enough to help me focus on staying hopeful.  So besides having an attitude of joy, I’m journeying on with an attitude of gratitude, in anticipation of the beauty to come.

If this is what you’re going through right now, I welcome you on this trail.  Though our paths may be different, I believe we’re getting onto something more magnificent in time to come.  Never lose faith and Joy!

 

Isaiah 61:3 – he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

 

 

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Emotional Abuse

 

FRED et marie (English subtitles) from fredetmarie on Vimeo.

 

When we think about abuse in a relationship, we often think of bruised faces, scars on arms and legs.  What we commonly think of or are more familiar with is physical abuse.  There are many forms of abuse and any form of abuse is cruel.

Unlike physical abuse, emotional (or psychological) abuse is not obvious, it is subtle. Quite often even the victim does not recognize that he/ she is being abused.  Although emotional abuse does not leave black eyes or visible bruises, it is often more seriously damaging to the self-esteem and will of the person being abused.

Physical abuse scars a person’s body but emotional abuse scars a person’s soul.  Often, physical abuse is accompanied or follows emotional abuse.  Emotional battering is used to wear the victim down – often over a long period of time – to cause so much confusion to the person abused so as to undermine his/ her self-concept, to a point that he/ she is willing to take responsibility for the abuser’s actions and behaviour towards him/her or simply just accept it.

Just as there are many forms of physical abuse, there are many varieties of psychological abuse.  They include isolation, crazy-making, verbal abuse, belittling and other humiliating or degrading behaviours.  Though the abusive behaviours may not be easily recognisable by themselves, they are readily identified by recognising the effects they have on the person being abused.

Emotional abuse has the aim of control and dominance. If a person constantly feels as though his/ her feelings, needs, opinions are being devalued, are given no credence, chances are the person is experiencing some form of emotional abuse.

The long term result of emotional and psychological abuse leaves the victim feeling confused, unsure of his/her own judgement and ability to make decisions, sometimes even to the extent of believing that he/ she is going crazy.  Accompanied by these are often low self-esteem, as the victim’s own needs and opinions are often put down, criticised or disregarded.  Depression and even suicidal thoughts set in as the victim feels so trapped in the situation (especially in a close relationship).  Ironically, the victim is often being made blamed for the abuser’s bad behaviours and hence may experience a deep sense of shame and guilt.

Emotional abuse is controlling and wields an invisible prison that keeps the victim in bondage.  In many cases, the victim would have been so manipulated in their thoughts to even recognise that they are being threatened or controlled.  Over extended periods of time, the victim loses all sense of self-direction, self-will, self-confidence and eventually becomes dependent to the abuser and does everything to please/pacify the abuser.  This then perpetuates the vicious cycle of abuse and the abuser gets to keep his dominance over the victim.

Emotional abuse is such a subtle form of control and domination which leaves no visible marks, yet has a profound effect on the emotional and mental well being of the victim.  Victims often feel trapped and so emotionally hurt but cannot point a finger as what is wrong.  Many people have found that once the emotional abuse is no longer effective, physical violence follows.  Many victims suffer in silence – the repressed emotions which left unaddressed often manifest in ill health.

If you or anyone you know is in some form of abuse, please seek help immediately.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that the problem will get better or be resolved with time.  Value yourself and your loved ones enough to stand up for your own right.

The Freedom Programme© in the UK is particularly good at showing up all the myriads of ways in which emotional abuse is used within abusive relationship.  To find out more, check out the Freedom Programme.

 

Joy in Sorrow – Beauty for Ashes

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For there would be no sunrise without dark nights, … , no restoration without brokenness.  

– Reflections from the book ‘Overextended’ by Lisa Harper.

 

I’d like to warn you that this post is fairly long, I did not split this into 2 posts as that would lose the flow.  So please persevere and read on to the end …

When things are going our way in life, promotions, financial wealth, good  health, blossoming relationships, lovely new house/ car, and so on… it’s easy to be joyful, singing and dancing, looking to others and wondering why other people are acting like depressive maniacs, self- pity  partiers, low morale mongers indulging in sour grapes.

What happens when events take a turn in life, if we’re stricken with disease, incur financial losses, get betrayed by those closest to us, faced with career setbacks?  When the weather changes from a bright sunny day to a storm, can we still sing and dance in the storm? Especially when the world seems to be passing us by, friends are getting married or enjoying lovely marriages and kids, catapulting by leaps and bounds in their career or financial advances.

Under such circumstances, some people will spiral into depression, wallow in self-pity, become bitter, sour and even resentful of those who are seemingly in the celebration seasons of their lives.  After all, emotions (both positive and negative) are so attuned to our human nature.  I have to admit for once that I am a highly emotional girl.  Even the stormy weather can make me feel gloomy.  Being trained in psychology, I know far better about the colored lenses of depression and how behavior is affected by the cognition..  Nonetheless, that is easier said than done, as I’ve been down that road before (many times).  No matter how I convince myself to steer away from the negativity, I can’t help it!

Yet, there are some people who can still stay steadfast, purposeful.  Though, not all the time smiling, they choose to focus on the positive.  Though they feel down at times, they choose not to indulge in a pity party, more than a slice of chocolate cake.  What is the secret?

Life is unpredictable.  The only thing constant is change, just like the four seasons.  And much like the many parodies of life, the human heart is so intended for contrast that, without one, we would not comprehend (appreciate) the other.  For there would be no rainbow without the storm, no child birth without pain.   If we follow this reasoning, it is possible to grow seeds of joy in the soil of sorrow!

As the famous author C.S. Lewis so aptly put it – a heart that is so sheltered from the possibility of wreckage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

What’s wrong with an ‘irredeemable’ heart?  To answer that question, rather let’s ponder on “What good is an irredeemable heart?”  Can it spread forth unconditional love; is it capable of genuine magnanimity, let alone, even appreciate true love?   See the picture?  An irredeemable heart is a heart of stone, impervious, insensitive, and incapable of growth.

Hence, perhaps we need to suffer the agony of a broken heart before our heart can be restructured and restored into a more beautiful heart.  Given that, I’ll gladly have my shabby heart wrecked and shattered.  So it can be restructured into something more splendid than before.!

Periods of trials and tribulations in life serve to strengthen not only our minds but our hearts.  Psychologically speaking, that could be the process of ‘Self Actualization’, thanks to Maslow’s theory.  However, in layman’s term, I believe it’s a process whereby I am the clay and my potter is remolding me into a vessel for higher purpose.

Though the process is painful and uncertain, knowing the end result is reason enough to help me focus on staying hopeful.  So besides having an attitude of joy, I’m journeying on with an attitude of gratitude, in anticipation of the beauty to come.

If this is what you’re going through right now, I welcome you on this trail.  Though our paths may be different, I believe we’re getting onto something more magnificent in time to come.  Never lose faith and Joy!

 

(This post is inspired by an excerpt from Lisa Harper.)

Stranger in the Mirror (2) – Breaking Free and LIfe Transformation

Previously we talked about the Harsh critical inner dialogues of self doubts many people face. 
We also realised that we need to be aware of them and not let them run our lives, now we continue the journey on how to break free and regain control of our lives…

Breaking Free Creates New Possibility ….


Breaking Free Creates New Possibility ….

Sam is an attorney who is employed by a large, high powered, litigating law firm and he is very unsatisfied with his life. In fact, he has become “depressed”, and feels hopeless.

With his wife and kids accustomed to an affluent lifestyle, he feels as if he is trapped by his job. He sees no escape from his dilemma and beats himself up for even wanting to change his life. He lives all week for the weekends when he can live his dream of having a small scale farm. Yet on Saturday afternoons, he begins to despair that he will have to go to work on Monday.

As he developed the ability to observe the internal dialogue, he also began to realize that these did not have to be the thoughts that controlled his life.

Simply becoming mindful of these two different conversations in his mind – and no longer identifying with them as who he was – gave him a new freedom. He discovered that he could awaken other voices that could contribute to his internal dialogue. H e found a Courageous Self and a Confident Self that, with practice, he could invoke to be part of the internal dialogue in his mind. He also discovered a Divine Voice living within him that (to his amazement) he had never connected to even though he was a practicing Christian.

As he became aware of these aspects of himself (voices within the self), his internal dialogue shifted. He no longer was trapped in a “victim conversation”. Discovering he could call up courageous and confident elements of himself into the thoughts of the internal dialogue created new possibilities for his life. Now, instead of drifting mindlessly in the currents of life, he is moving from being stuck in unseen patterns (comfort zone) to consciously designing the patterns that create his life.

Transforming the Conversations of the Self

This choice, to become a participant in the design of your life is available to all.

What is required is the motivation, skill development, and discipline to learn how to observe the patterns and internal conversations that drive your life and begin consciously developing new patterns and conversations.

As a human being, it is the greatest gift we have been given. The criterion is to recognize that the gift was not designed to serve the Ego. Rather it is built to serve a purpose greater than the self. Our job is to accept the gift, nurture the gift, and to bring forth the light that lives within us into the world.

It is at this moment that we begin the journey to becoming fully human. In the words of Nelson Mandela from his 1984 inaugural speech:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…. Your playing small does not serve the world…. We are born to make manifest the glory of God within us….. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. We are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Commited to Happiness – Emotional wellbeing

Previously we talked about how many people tend to whine and complain about life so much that it makes them unhappy all the time. This may influence other people around us into becoming unhappy too. Thus for us to be committed to happiness, we can also see this as an exercise in personality improvement. How do we ‘practise’ being happy in daily life?

How do we ‘translate’ joy to practise in everyday life?
How do we ‘make’ ourselves happy, everday?

1) Make a list
No, not a shopping list, wish list or ‘ to do’ list, but a ‘Count your blessings’ list!
One of the simplest and most effective ways is to make a list of all the wonderful things that have happened to you or are happening to you everyday.

These can be the smallest of things – for example,
  someone said a kind word or complimented you;
  something funny to laugh over;
  spending time with friends,
  being free from sickness and pain, etc.
At the end of the day, just run through the list!
You will be amazed at the things in your life that you can be thankful for

2) See the good
It is also important to cultivate a habit of seeing the good in things, even when things do not go our way.
Many events in our lives can be interpreted in both positive or negative ways.
It all boils down to how we choose to view things.

3) Beware of negativity
Each day, try to develop an awareness of your thoughts.
Once you catch yourself starting to worry, make an attempt to think more positively.
It’s hard at first, but with practise it will become second nature.

4) Make a committed choice each day!
We all have a choice today and everyday.

Do you choose to be happy and thankful …
  for the things that you have,
  for the people in your lives,
  for the simple pleasures that you enjoy,
  for the air that you breathe
  for the breeze and the sunshine
  for the rain and refreshing waters

Or do you choose to be ungrateful and grumpy … even for the littlest things that go wrong.

Being happy does not mean that everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections. The glass is both half empty and half full, it depends on how you choose to see it!

Make a commitment to being happy – it is the most important work of your life!