Have you ever had a situation that goes something like this: You meet someone and it feels like the stars align. Whether it’s a friendship or it turns romantic, it seems totally meant to be. They’re really nice and seem to be genuinely interested in you. They lavish you with attention and a true relationship begins to blossom. You feel really safe in that moment, which makes what happens next worse.
Down the road when you both have settled in comfortably, things start to change. The person who used to adore and worship you now fluctuates between needing you desperately and devaluing you. They are constantly angry and depressed. They consistently lift themselves up by putting others down. They’re often negative and hard to be around. Instead of engaging with you, they tend to make things about themselves. In fact, they may actually be prone to lies and exaggerations about themselves and others, as a way to make themselves feel better.
Maybe you had ignored some red flags at first, but it can’t be ignored now. When you are convinced that things are turning toxic, you call it off and explain that you’re moving on. However, instead of getting better, this individual’s behavior gets much, much worse!
Now, imagine that instead of going away, this person begins gaslighting you: a form of persistent manipulation meant to ultimately cause you to lose your own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. A gaslighter’s statements and accusations are often based on calculated fiction. They begin by distorting facts, crafting deliberate falsehoods, making up character assassinations towards you, and aggressively asserting negative coercions about you to your friends, family and co-workers. You notice that they send you communication that tries to manipulate the truth by persistent distortion, with the clear intention of causing you, your family, your co-workers and your friends to question and feel less confident in your personality and your decisions.
Now, anything mean that they do to you, this person accuses you of doing to them. Not only are they lying, they are thriving off of the praise gained from being the victim in those lies. They replace factual information with false information. They personally message people who support you, threatening them if they continue to work with or be friends with you. This person begins to attempt to control your personal relationships, friendships and work relationships by constantly inserting themselves into them with made-up drama, lies and persistent manipulation aimed directly at you. They threaten your livelihood. Now we’re not talking being mean or annoying: we’re talking serious criminal harassment.
Now, imagine this goes on for 11 years!
Unfortunately, that’s been my everyday reality. I’ve been a victim of gaslighting for over a decade: since I was 20 years old.
If this situation sounds similar to something you have experienced, you may be or may have dated or been friends with a narcissistic gaslighter. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.
Since 2007, I’ve faced this harrowing reality from one person in particular, as well as their family and close friends. This gaslighting behavior towards me has now been going on for over a third of my life. Never one to want to feel like the victim, I have stayed silent about it publicly for all these years. But I was inspired to share my story with you today. As a woman, as a woman of color and as a woman with a public platform, I NEED to share my story with you today.
Many years ago, I took the drastic step to move across the country and get as far away from my gaslighter as possible. In retaliation, they moved across state lines, close to where I had lived (a classic form of stalking) and even reached out to people in my new town, as well as my old, befriending them to turn them against me. While I’ve chosen to completely ignore them, over many years my gaslighter has gone through great lengths to threaten me both personally and professionally, including making death threats to my life. I have done everything one does in this situation (and have outlined them all below so you have them handy), but after going on for over a decade, it’s never really stopped.
Remember that many of the people that are on the receiving end of rampant gaslighting are harassed each and every day, because their abuser is in pain each and every day, and takes their pain out on their intended victim with their manipulative behavior.
To the harassed, it’s not “a one time thing”, like some forms of cyber-bullying. It’s yet another example that a person will say terrible, untrue things to get their way – over a very long period of time. It’s one more scary email in your inbox, it’s another day you’re hearing false allegations, it’s another letter you’re forced to have sent from your lawyer, it’s another time that person is slinging slurs or death threats in your direction. So to speak up, we leave ourselves open to being attacked.
But how long should a person endure that kind of punishment simply for daring to exist?
THE LARGEST LESSON
In today’s society, articles like this are a long time coming, and I think my only mistake was not speaking out sooner, especially in a positive way.
When this happens to you, it’s frightening. You’ve done nothing to deserve it, and yet your gaslighter will come up with all kinds of reasons why they feel you do. That, alone, will drive anyone nuts. Too many times I felt like I had no where to turn: even movies or dateline-like episodes I had seen on the subject of gaslighting situations often didn’t compare to what I was facing on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis. And none of them ended well.
I’ve come to learn I’m not alone. I’ve come to learn that we think we know how we’d handle a situation like this, but often we have absolutely no idea. If you’ve been there, and frozen, I get it. While normally I am assertive, quick-witted and valiant about the truth, at times during my ordeal with this form of harassment, I have been so taken aback by how many manipulations are going on at once, that there were many yearsI wasn’t able to respond to it at all. When an attack happened – and they happened often – I would completely shut down.
I’ve come to learn that this is normal. In fact, wrapped in this culture of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, I think it’s hard for a lot of people to figure out how to react to this kind of reality; one that is rooted in lies. It’s head-spinning – and emotionally draining. Remember, the entire point of gaslighting is to throw so many lies, distortions and half-truths out at once that the victim (that’s you) becomes so confused that they are paralyzed. This is exactly what happened to me. If you find that it happens to you, it’s totally normal, so don’t worry. Most people have no past experience with this type of behavior, which has now become so prevalent in society.
It’s exhausting to fight a gaslighter, and when it goes on for so long, you become despondent that there will be any kind of support if you ever DO speak out. It’s easy for the public at large to dismiss cyber-stalking as “just trolling,” as “cat-fights,” as something clearly less dangerous than the “real thing”—even when perpetrators move to extort, dig up personal details and deluge victims with explicit threats. Hey, don’t feed the trolls, ladies! Calm down, that’s just the internet!
But it’s not “just” the internet. For a lot of us, the internet has become the primary mode of remote communication and our sole business platform. It threatens your emotional health. It fights your ability to practice self-care. It inhibits your ability to exist normally. This isn’t just the internet; it’s your life. And it’s not one or two people saying something snarky about you on the internet. These are malicious, untrue, systematic, hateful attacks from someone that the victims often knows or knew personally. This is real life.
The idea that threatening messages should somehow be less alarming, less dangerous, and less worthy of investigation than threatening phone calls or harassment in the workplace (when the internet is now most of our workplaces) undermines the magnitude of what online harassment truly does and what women, in particular, go through every single day – just to check their emails.
After a while you need to choose: am I going to spend my whole life defending myself against this person or will I speak out?
WHAT GASLIGHTING LOOKS LIKE:
The term Gaslight comes from the Academy Award winning 1944 film by the same name, in which a man systematically sets out to drive his wife crazy by making her doubt the reality of her own perceptions. If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, there is a good chance you have experienced “Gaslighting” for yourself. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which the one doing it tries to get power over his or her victim by making them think they are crazy, out of sorts and “off.”
The gaslighter lies to, manipulates and questions the other person and the people around them, mostly for control, but sometimes to hide or distract from something about themselves they don’t want others to discover. Even though individual situations might give manipulators different platforms on which to work, these are good examples of what gaslighting sounds and looks like:
When they begin rerouting conversations to something you did “wrong.”
Turning from very invested and friendly to heartless and cold over time.
Subtly sabotaging your work (e.g., unscheduling things, starting rumors, “misplacing” files, manipulating your coworkers, friends or classmates).
Gossiping about you.
Reacting badly when you don’t accept their version of the truth.
Acting out of revenge.
Highly aggressive when criticized.
Twist and turn the truth and make such long and complicated arguments to prove their points that after a while you become thoroughly confused.
Finding fault with your personality or accusing you of being paranoid, stressed, etc., when you make a complaint against their behavior.
Spreading malicious lies or rumors about you.
Becoming fixated on you in an unhealthy, obsessive way.
Constantly telling you “who you are” and what you “should” do or feel while invalidating what you’re experiencing.
Convincing you to doubt all evidence that shows them in a bad light.
Excluding others for being close to you.
Doubling or tripling down on their false accusations or coercions, to intimidate or oppress your truth.
FACTS TO REMEMBER:
Remember, their behavior is not about you.
Bullies are not just for the school playground and no matter their age, people who project hate are always struggling with inner battles of their own. When you are at peace, you feel no need to spread negativity. You don’t care what happened 5 years or even 5 minutes ago. When you’re genuinely happy, doing things you truly love, there is no room for negative thoughts or hateful feelings towards others. When you are struggling, you judge. When you are not struggling, life is positive, solution-based and soaked in love.
Never forget that when someone judges you, it isn’t actually about you at all. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs. People who are the most difficult to please are always the people least worth pleasing. They’re also the people that will never be happy no matter what you do. They create the least and risk nothing. Because they are focused solely on being the victim, they rarely give themselves a chance to bring anything of worth into the world.
HOW TO STOP THE ABUSE:
If you have this horrific situation in your life, here is what you can do to help yourself and end the abuse. The techniques you use to combat harassment, bullying and gaslighting might need adjustment depending on the person and situation you’re dealing with, but these tactics are a good starting point:
Tune in to your gut. That nervous, uncomfortable feeling bullying causes isn’t your imagination. It’s a warning from your brain, which senses danger on the basis of previous emotional experiences and memories. Pay attention to who makes you confused, anxious or depressed and when.
DON’T retaliate, even if they are baiting you to or lying to others that you already are retaliating! Don’t do it. It doesn’t feel good. You lose a little bit of your soul every time you spend your precious time trying to put others down. It doesn’t work to stoop to their level because every time you type or say something cruel to or about someone, you do more damage to yourself than them. Not only that, you may validate some of their manipulations by trying to get back at them.
Do not engage with the person. Do not ask other people to engage with him or her either.
Block the person on all social media the moment you feel you’re being harassed. Block their number. Remove the opportunity for people to easily continue to harass you on your platforms.
On twitter considering using The Block Bot, which is a service that allows individuals to add people to a shared block list for generalized abuse. If someone says something aggressively sexist, cissexist, transphobic, or otherwise to someone on the network and they add the person to The Block Bot, the person will also be blocked for me. It’s a sort of pre-emptive strike against harassers.
Tell your close friends and relatives what’s going on. Get witnesses to the abuser’s behavior. Document document document all you can. Screengrab immediately. If things are recorded or in writing, they’re harder for the other person to manipulate, and you’ll have a reference to trust even if they try.
Change your number if they will not stop.
Find supportive people to talk to and get perspective.
Talk to a therapist and close friends. Explain what your harassment and gaslighting is and why you believe it is happening to you.
If the individual is spreading lies about you publicly, threatens you or begins committing online harassment, contact a lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney, look into domestic violence groups near you. Literally just google “your town + abuse help.” They can often guide you to low cost or free legal advice. There are 24/7 hotlines for emotional abuse in every state.
Choose when you will speak up about your ordeal. Don’t let them silence you, but don’t let it consume your life, either. Often this person just wants attention, so be careful with your energy.
If the individual threatens your life, call the police IMMEDIATELY. 911, stat. These individuals sometimes see other people as “sub-human” and it is not beyond them to take drastic measures to hurt others in order to get their way.
If you need support because you are a victim of gaslighting, bullying or harassment, Bullies Reality is an amazing organization that supports victims. They work to educate kids and teens in schools and on social media providing help for those in need and at risk of suicide.
There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as suggested by recent bullying-related suicides in the US and other countries. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 to 34 year olds. Parents, teachers, and students learn the dangers of bullying and help students who may be at risk of committing suicide.
As you may know, I lost my best friend to suicide in 2011, so this cause is especially dear to my heart. Bullies Reality is 30 million people strong. They help teach families of the bullied child and the child who is bullying by offering effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying and join the BR Family. They reached out to me and have been so supportive to me. Bullies Reality has been truly understanding of my ordeal, and so we wanted to partner to bring this larger message to you. You are not alone. Bullying and harassment happens and it’s NOT your fault. This amazing organization works with schools worldwide by creating new programs and policies for both the bully and the kids who are being bullied.
I truly love Bullies Reality so much. I am glad that this problem is getting the attention and resources that it truly deserves so that we can end this devastating, rising issue and stop the suicide count.
And when you may feel the most helpless, send good thoughts to anyone who is hurting enough to hurt others: those are the people who need healing the most. I know it may be difficult, especially with so much hate in the world, but I promise you that this is the only way to not swallow the poison arrow. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
Keep making good, positive contributions to the world. Trust me, people notice.
Gratitude is your ally. This powerful feeling can propel us in unexpected and beautiful directions. IF we use it correctly. Used to manifest, gratitude can take you from super depressed to super inspired in a heartbeat.
How? Well, my favorite practice involves simply feeling grateful for something you want, before you have it. This practice tricks our body into producing our intended outcome. Yes, simply imagining that you have a million dollars or that you were asked to appear on that popular talk show can get you straight there, because you’ve put your body – and mind – in a position to receive what you want and expect, by being grateful for it in advance.
Here’s how gratitude works to manifest your dearest goals and dreams. . .
Gratitude Makes People Like You
Gratitude generates social capital – in two studies with 243 total participants, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital, aka friend wealth. Why? How? What?
Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, and improve our marriage. When people like you, they’re more invested in helping you achieve your dreams.
Gratitude Makes You Happier
A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That’s the same impact as doubling your income!
How can a free five minute activity compare? Gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career.
Sure, having more money can be pretty awesome, but often we quickly get used to it and stop having as much fun and happiness as we did at first. Once we’re grateful for the money – even before we have it – we’re attracting more abundance into our lives.
3. Gratitude Makes You Healthier
Keeping a gratitude journal caused participants to report a 25% increase in sleep quality, 16% fewer adverse physical symptoms, 10% less physical pain and a whopping 20% more time spent exercising! When you’re healthier, you can accomplish more stuff, more easily. Before you know it, you’re not just talking about your goals – you’re going out and checking them off!
4. Gratitude boosts Your Career
65% of Americans didn’t receive recognition in the workplace last year. Can you imagine how much that killed their ability to be grateful for what they have?
Gratitude makes you a more effective manager and a better employee. It helps you network, increases your decision making capabilities, increases your productivity, and helps you get the correct mentors and proteges. As a result, gratitude helps you achieve your career goals, as well as making your workplace a more friendly and enjoyable place to be.
Wow. One small practice really can change everything!
How do you become the Oprah or Bill Gates of your time?
What’s interesting is that some of the traits that make great people great are very obvious, while other leadership traits are actually really subtle. In fact, the best leaders make leadership look so easy that you don’t even notice what they do.
Success requires more than luck. Here’s a list of four unspoken habits of highly successful people that you can adopt yourself to create the success you want in your own life.
They Know When To Put Their Phone Away
Social connection is a healthy and necessary part of the human experience. A number of studies have examined the benefits of social ties, finding that people with strong social connection have lower levels of anxiety and depression, a stronger immune system, faster recovery times from illness and even an increased chance of longevity. And on the flip-side, studies have also shown that a lack of social connection is correlated with lower self-esteem, a lower sense of empathy for others, vulnerability to disease, higher blood pressure and an increased risk of depression.
However, there have been a number of studies examining the consequences of social comparison – something most of us have experience with. One moment you’re scrolling innocently through a friend’s feed, then next thing you know you’re 4 months deep looking at their tropical vacation photos, wondering why you haven’t gone anywhere in years and why it’s taking so long to get your life on track so that you can actually take that trip you’ve been talking about for nearly a decade now.
Social comparison can also rear its ugly head when we start to compare our bodies and appearance to others, tearing ourselves down in the process. A study out of the UK surveyed 1500 Facebook and Twitter users, finding that 62% of the group reported feeling inadequate and 60% reported feelings of jealousy from comparing themselves to other users.
While it may seem like living on your phone would be a requirement for modern day success, it turns out the opposite is true. Successful people do it differently. They don’t look at their phone for the first and last hour of the day. That is their “me time” – a time to unwind, meditate, spend time with family, take in the day, feel at peace and work on goals for the future. The more you do this in your own life, the more successful you will be.
They Get – and Stay! – Inspired
Self-confidence comes from the habit of mastering yourself, your skills and talents. It’s a process that slowly but surely builds unshakeable trust in yourself–which is a vital element of success.
Successful people have an inspiration to get better and to do better. When they set a goal, instead of letting their inspiration disappear after a few days or weeks, they get convicted in their resolutions. Their strong convictions mean they’ll structure everything else in their life around their most important goal, doing whatever it takes to make it happen. They have the strength to see things through without griping or procrastinating. When you want it, you make it happen. The world’s greatest achievers are those who have had the willpower to stay focused on their goals and consistent in their efforts.
(actual double rainbow I actually saw – and captured! – on a recent early morning)
They Wake Up Earlier
No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. That’s the benefit of getting up before everyone else. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe. There is less psychic chatter too, so you are not competing with other people’s thoughts and energies like you must throughout the rest of the day.
One very significant benefit of waking up early is reduced stress level. Successful people know that when you rise early, it eliminates the need to rush in the morning. You can then start your day on an optimistic note and such positivity often stays with you throughout the day. Early risers often go to bed early, too, meaning that they’re conscientious of their time.
Try going to bed and waking up an hour earlier tonight! There’s another added bonus to this practice too; early riser’s have time for breakfast –the most important meal to get your brain optimized for the day!
They think better thoughts
Successful people don’t allow any room for negativity or doubt. They may even visualize how success will look and feel. They intuitively understand that once you can think of a goal, you can achieve it.
In the end, successful people know the importance of having effective, healthy winning habits, and they work hard on creating, building and cultivating winning habits to make their success a reality.
Tom Corley, an accountant and financial planner, surveyed 233 wealthy individuals, mostly self-made millionaires, and found interesting patterns among them. A huge majority of these rich people, 88 percent, say they devote 30 minutes or more each day to reading, according to CNBC . Most of those prefer nonfiction works like biographies, history, and self-help books. Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett reportedly once said that reading is the most important habit he’s picked up. “I just sit in my office and read all day,” he told The Week.
That is literally my life story. I’m always reading. It’s been my comfort since I was a child. And it always always ALWAYS gets me out of a funk.
When you think better, more optimistic thoughts, you’re more inspired to act on those thoughts. Successful people take action. They don’t talk about what they’re going to do or think about their intentions. They get up and get it done.
There is literally nothing worse than taking off, sitting comfortably in you seat, putting your headphones on and realizing that your state of the art, in-flight entertainment system just… doesn’t work. Like, at ALL. Bonus meltdown if your flight is at night and/or you don’t have a window seat.
That’s where books come in SO handy!
On my last few flights I devoured Own Your Glow, Claim Your Powerand even did edits for my next book that comes out next year! There’s honestly nothing like reading an empowering work when you’re 30,000+ feet in the air! Inspiration galore and the time goes by SO quickly. Plus, at the very least, it’s a great way to fall asleep 😉
…and a bunch of kickass playlists you won’t get sick of. But seriously – headphones are the difference between a pleasant flight and a flight where you are actually, seriously contemplating murdering a stranger’s young, screaming child.
Make sure that your choice of headphones covers both of your ears and they are noise cancelling. None of this iTunes headphones earbuds crap. I bring the headphones I use to record music with me. They’re my absolute favorite because they cancel out not just noise, but the whole world. One meditation track laterand I could be sitting next to that stranger’s young, screaming child and still drift peacefully off to sleep. Let someone else stare daggers in their parents exhausted direction. I’m gonna get some Zzzz’s. Wake me when the food cart comes.
I actually, truly, legitimately forgot how dehydrating travel was. Let’s see. There’s the fact that you are barely inspired to drink water because god forbid you have to get up to pee AGAIN. There’s the fact that the flight attendants hold water from you like they only have a certain amount and you’ll never see water again until you land (oh, wait…) There’s the issue where it seems like every minute your skin just gets drier and drier and DRIER until you finally catch your reflection in the bathroom mirror and notice that it looks like someone came with a syringe and sucked all of the water out of your entire body. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
I carry an organic water bottlewith me everywhere, at all times, but it’s ESPECIALLY CRUCIAL to start this habit when you travel. Flying on an airplane, sitting in a bed of recycled air and germs, can lead to dehydration and illness. While traveling, drinking water is not only important for hydration but also for staying resistant to germs.
Carrying your own bottleensures that you can easily fill up on water when necessary just by tapping a flight attendant on the shoulder and asking politely, rather than sitting and waiting for them to “bring water around” (which may only happen once or twice on a 6 hour or more flight).
My skin? SO DRY I could barely talk on my last flight out east last year. So since then I’ve been taking a moisturizer with me at all times and luckily, now I have products that I truly trust to keep me company on my journeys!
Before you fly at all and to combat the germs we touched on earlier, apply Waxelene to your entire face and even use a Q-tip to apply some in your nose before getting on a plane to avoid catching a cold. Airplane air can be drying, and if the inside of your nose becomes cracked and dry, infection is much more likely. How does this help? Well, this organic formula creates a barrier that doesn’t allow germs to penetrate through the nose, but you are still able to breathe.
I loved using the Genetix Glow Brightening Serum on these last few trips because I truly think it made all the difference! It’s formulated with high potency, organic rosehip, melatonin and hyaluronic acid that immediately tackles dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, revealing smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. An absolute travel MUST, since your complexion can change rapidly while flying. I also love using the Cellular Recovery Serum under my eyes to get rid of that oh-so-tired look that’s inevitable while traveling.
What I love is that in just one use, fine lines appear visually plumped. Over time the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthier-looking complexion. Perfect for all skin types and all ages, this treatment is enhanced with turmeric and chamomile for maximum brightening and instant radiance. Doubles as a highlighter over makeup, if you’re a makeup-while-traveling kind of gal (I, perhaps needless to say, am not.)
I used to think those people walking around the airport carrying head pillows were dorks. Turns out, they’re GENIUSES. AND I own at least 5 head pillows now. SO yeah. Shame on me.
I prefer the ones that feel like velvet, but honestly, they’re all game-changing. If you’re literally nodding as you attempt to nod off, a Head Pillow will ensure your head stays cradled securely in place. You can also use them basically any way you wish to make a comfy, squishy pillow for yourself. I love mine and it keeps me from being in SERIOUS neck or back pain if I fall asleep on my flight!
SOMETIMES you land and realize as you turn on the hotel room shower, that you forgot one of the most important things… a razor! And I get it. You had a lot on your mind and they’re normally hard to find amongst all the other bathroom looking toiletries.
Now, your razor looks like a mermaid, so you’ll never forget if you packed it again! This Mermaid Razor seriously changed my hygiene game, as I’m a huge culprit of showering the morning I leave and forgetting to pack ALL my shower stuff. LITERALLY will NEVER forget if I packed my razor ever again! How the heck could you?!
Smelling good shouldn’t be your last thought when traveling, but it often is! Seriously, though – this is an important one. After all, YOU have to smell yourself all day long!
Well, they are called ESSENTIAL oils for a reason… idk what I’d do without them!
I dab some calming rose essential oil onto my wrists, neck and into my hair pre-flight to ease my nerves. Want something less subtle? I love my trusty Ded Cool no. 2roll on which is sexy and unisex, with notes of juniper and sandalwood, coupled with a light and fresh scent of Zoe Organics Aroma Oil.
Freshen up in a pinch with some travel size organic DEO with you! Traces of raw organic honey, lavender and eucalyptus inflect the subtly alluring scent of this long-lasting deodorant made with food-grade ingredients—organic coconut oil, beeswax, sodium bicarbonate, avocado butter, sunflower butter, castor oil, honey and healing essential oils—to work on even the most sensitive skin. Deodorant regularly shows up in my top 10 list of search keywords that brought people to my blog. Why wouldn’t it? Many use it and you definitely need it when you travel. There have been times that I’ve been on a hot stuffy plane where the person next to me needed a double dose of it! I mean, airlineshave LITERALLY kicked passengers off their flights for their body odor. Don’t be that guy!
It’s one of the most important words I learned while studying genetics and evolution.
By its principals, it supports the very idea that none of us would be here without each other’s kindness. Somewhere, sometime, someone saved one of your ancestors from certain death so that you could be here today. Maybe someone even risked (or lost!) their own life so that your ancestors could survive and you could be here. That’s still such a raw truth to me. We exist because of one anothers’ kindness.
When I travel, I’m reminded of just how much there truly is to go around. I’m also constantly hit over the head with this fact: the idea that we need to be greedy because ‘there aren’t enough resources’ or there’s ‘not enough money’ or ‘not enough land’ is a complete fallacy.
From my understanding, money isn’t going to run out: it stopped being backed by gold a long time ago and they keep printing more of the stuff every day. There are countless opportunities to make it! There are millions of acres of untouched fertile land. There are zillions of experiences out there you can create for yourself to enrich your life. Someone else’s success is also your success because they are paving the way for YOU.
No one should be driven to hate. No one should feel driven to take anything (rights, land, lives, opportunities) from another person. Because when one of us wins, we ALL win. And when one of us loses, we ALL lose. We’re here to pave the way for each other. We always have been. Yes, of course population density and hatred and its consequences are real.
So, what can we do about that?
We can acknowledge that human kindness is also real. We can prove it to other people by being the example.
You can choose to do better than your parents did. You can choose to define justice for yourself in a positive way. You can choose to create the world you wish existed. You can creative positive, important things, instead of dwelling in negative thoughts. You can acknowledge that people face different challenges than you do – in your words as well as your actions. You can be different than how you were taught to be.
Love is real. Miracles are real, too and they’re happening every single day. It’s a miracle that we all woke up this morning. It’s a miracle that we can do better than we did yesterday. Our choices change the world. If you want to see a change, start to change. No justice, no peace.
Here’s my challenge:
Start creating miracles instead of denying them.
Start appreciating daily miracles instead of allowing anger get the best of you. You don’t need to deny reality. You need to swallow reality, then be exactly what you want the world to be, and the world will start to reflect you. Acknowledge that someone saved your ancestors so you could live.
No one’s life is perfect all of the time. Not everyone is going to agree with you all the time. However, it’s when we chose to use our voices to empower others, instead of to complain, we allow ourselves to truly feel happiness & we start to get the life we felt that we deserved all along.
I have made friends in the least likely of places. At my book signings, while opening up publicly about my childhood trauma. Through so many apps, which I used to think were silly. During detox, probably one of the least pretty times I’ve been through. I’ve made friends because of other’s people’s negative critiques about me, a judgment that I used to be so afraid of. These things have now brought the most incredible people into my life, hundreds of times over.
This has all come about because six years ago I made a huge commitment to myself – stop complaining. Stop judging. If you don’t have anything nice to say, say NOTHING and move on.
I know this can be difficult. We were literally genetically formed to judge others – for our ultimate survival. But in today’s world, day to day judgements, speculation and gossip really don’t serve us. This is especially true when the negativity is directed at another person or group of people. In the last few years I’ve learned that speaking negatively is a poison arrow. Our complaints are like arrows shot up into the air at no target; with no purpose they only fall back down onto our own heads.
Poisoned and meant for our enemy, they destroy us – NOT our enemy.
When you speak negatively about someone, instead of garnering sympathy or attention or whatever you seek, you are hurting yourself. How?
Negativity is the biggest tell: anyone who is truly happy has absolutely no notion to focus on the negativity in life. Someone who is truly happy has no time left in their life to complain about the hands that they’ve been dealt – they are too busy living well. When you’re truly hell bent on happiness, you’re living feverishly, making up for that wasted time when things might have been less-than-perfect in your past.
Yes, we can all complain about something or someone *if we wanted to.* No one’s life is perfect all of the time. Not everyone is going to agree with you all the time. However, it’s when we chose to use our voices to empower others, instead of to complain, that we truly feel happiness & start to get the life we feel that we deserve.
Clearly, there is a divine order to the universe. I am living proof that even the ‘worst things’ that can happen to us are many times blessings in disguise! Other people do not determine who you are or how others may view you. They can TRY, but at the end of the day people form opinions for themselves. Sometimes the good takes a minute to reveal itself. Don’t let this discourage you.
So, here is my challenge, or my self-realization project, if you will.
Today, I am recommitting myself to better serve those around me. I am going to be kinder. People have been through experiences you may know nothing about, even when you’re using them as a soundboard to voice your grievances. They may be able to check you if you’re coming from a negative place because of their past experience. Your drama or issues with other people are yours alone, so deal with them that way.
What if everyone in the world projected their best self (instead of their crazy crap) onto their friends and family every single day? There would be no time left for negativity! That’s why trying to make people feel bad for not feeling the way that you feel (or allowing them to do the same to you!) is low energy and a waste of your time.
Maybe it was my polite roman catholic upbringing, but I still get an icky, I’m-probably-going-to-hell kind of feeling when I find myself judging. Any of my loved ones can tell you that it’s always been super difficult to get me to point out someone’s flaws, since I don’t see any positive outcome in doing so. However, there is always room for improvement: to abstain completely from judgmental thoughts is the true goal, because judgmental thoughts do not serve me and don’t do anyone any good. They are another poison arrow. So, ridding myself completely of judgmental thoughts will be a big part of my new self-love project.
Most people in this world want love and happiness for themselves and others, but there’s a small portion of people that just don’t. They don’t want you to get stronger, or be better or get healthier. These people think that loving and caring for yourself is selfish, or they think that you believe you’re better than someone else because you care about yourself or begin to treat yourself lovingly. Maybe they’re a boyfriend or girlfriend or a stuck-on ex you can’t get rid of – maybe they’re your mom or your best friend or someone you never even noticed before. But you can bet that they’re there, and they’re often either close to you or trying to get closer. They may seem like the hardest people to get rid of or be kind to.
If you’re having a hard time being kind, walk away, then focus on consistently being your best self. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. The less explaining that you do, the more time you have for positive things.
I am also going to try to do more “walking away”. It’s easy to get swept up in the negative news or the frustration of traffic or other people’s judgements of you. Begin the process of realizing that they are small blips in time that can’t affect you if you don’t let them. You don’t need others approval to feel strong or to get better. What’s happening in Washington is not happening in your living room. What’s happening on social media does not need to be happening in your headspace. In order to do the most good for others, you first need to work on yourself. It’s hard to walk away, but it’s completely worth it. It gives you more time to focus on you, and working on you is paramount to helping others work on themselves and making the world a better place.
If I’m having a hard time with something, I’m going to give it LESS of my energy. This doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore it or put it aside: this means I am going to focus on the solution, instead of the problem.
I encourage you to join me.
Let’s keep reminding ourselves to always speak from our hearts ONLY. If you come from your heart ONLY, people will gravitate towards you for all the right reasons.