Tag: #friendships

Keeping Open to Love

 

Have you ever met one of those people that no matter what life tosses their way they remain loving and kind while you find yourself getting annoyed?  Admit it, there are times in our day-to-day life when obstacles or challenges get the better or us. You may be exhausted from a newborn keeping you up all night or upset over an incident at work, or sad about a recent loss.  Whatever the cause, during these times, it’s easy to shut the security gate to your heart and retreat from feeling. Life holds many promises and disappointments, how then do you navigate through the ups and downs while keeping an open loving heart. Is it even possible?  Yes, but for most of us who don’t float about with angel wings, it’s a process, a choice, and it doesn’t come without work and a lot of practice.

First, begin to notice what is your go to emotion when challenges present themselves; fear, anger, jealousy, or perhaps you simply pick up the rug, sweep it under, and don’t deal with the issue at all.  Bringing awareness to how you react (in other words your patterns) is essential to redirecting them.  For example, if you get bad news about a promotion or plans change, or your partner is cranky do you immediately get mad or do you lapse into a panic?  Make no judgement on how you respond, however if you want to change, taking an honest look is the first step.

Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. When you reflect on the “whys” of your behavior, be kind to yourself. Why do I always react with anger or fear? Perhaps that was the model you got as a child, or perhaps you were oblivious to your emotional patterns.  Then say to yourself, I am afraid or angry or hurt or jealous, but I don’t have to be.  After all, we have a choice in how we want to move through life.  Remind yourself that you have the right to be forgiving and loving towards yourself.  Being kinder to yourself will help you be kinder and more loving to others.  Knowing you are as worthy as anyone of love, allows you to release fear that in turn allows you to let go of anger (which largely comes from being afraid).

Communicate your emotions, say “I feel angry, I feel afraid,” get them out on the table rather than holding them where they wreak havoc on your relationship with yourself and others. Being truthful creates an atmosphere that leaves room for dialog. Which prevents us from making up a false reality (such as why does that person hate me, when they don’t).   If there has been a misunderstanding, dealing with it will open the channels for reconciliation. Yes, you want to be a loving person, but sometimes you immediate reaction is just the opposite.  You fail.  Mistakes are lessons in humility.  Admit when you’re wrong and give a sincere heartfelt, sorry.

Practice, practice, practice, life will give you ample opportunity for this.  Use each one to shift your choice of emotions and take your time.  Try counting to ten before you react, then learn to come from a place of love and understanding.  Once you begin doing this, it becomes habit forming and will not go unnoticed by those around you.  Love will flourish in your friendships, in yourself, and have a profound effect on the way you live your life.  There will be less frazzled angry moments because you have become a person that lives with an open heart and chooses to lead with love.

 


Social Media – Can We Have too Much of a Good Thing?

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Social Media can be a great tool with many positive effects. I use it weekly to get my articles out to the world with my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Tumbler etc. We stay connected with family and friends and our relationships feel as if they are deepening because it’s so easy to stay connected. Social Media allows us to interact with close friends and family no matter how great the physical distance. For those friends and family that are challenging to be in close proximity with, Social Media allows us the contact without the conflict that may arise if we share physical space. It is most useful in times of distress to gain support from others.

We often feel that we know someone just because we see and read so much about them, forgetting that it is what they want us to know about them. They have shared and posted the parts of themselves that for whatever reason they are comfortable with the world knowing. This is very different than having an intimate conversation or a heart to heart with your friends. It’s very easy to start to compare yourself to the life that they have portrayed. Comparing yourself to others often leads to internal disharmony and on social media platforms you are measuring against a manufactured image, not an actual person.

It can be easy to get addicted to the virtual social world as no one can see you unless you want them too. It is safe, it is fun, it is playing a game and fooling yourself into thinking you are connecting with and making real friends.

Look around the next time you are at a restaurant. I’ve had the experience of being seated next to a table where almost the whole family is looking at their phones. I recall being on a subway, jammed in like a sardine with so little room I couldn’t take my hands out of my pockets. Yet, three people around me managed to pull their phones out and play games on their devices. People are so used to being connected to their devices, they don’t know how to be present. Of course on the subway ride I can fully understand them not wanting to be.

Many studies have shown a link between the amount of time spent on social media and the risk of depression and feelings of social isolation.

As with most things, it’s about finding a healthy balance. Limit time on social media to help you control your time in the “virtual world” and be sure to schedule dates to see people “live” – enjoy true connectedness to foster feelings of self-esteem and to eliminate the possibility of feelings of anxiety, depression and social isolation.