21/05/2020

Surrounded by Flawed Systems

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, General, Musings, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:38 am by The Water Bearer

Its not surprising that, during this time when our usual way of life is placed on hold, that many more of us are beginning to see that we are surrounded by flawed systems.

As I list them out, it can be scary to realise that the things we rely on most are unstable and untrustworthy! So, you’ll want to hang on until the end for the good news and the solution to this conundrum.

We only need to switch on free to air TV to find its a flawed system. What used to be a device to entertain and inform, has been tainted by hidden agendas. The news is politically biased and promotes fear, advertising is extremely manipulative, time slots are unreliable, plenty of the content is offensive and mindless, and most of it is misleading. Its no wonder everyone moved on to pay for streaming. $$$

Speaking of making money, have you noticed how many companies alter their products just slightly enough to inconvenience us, but not enough to be found guilty of extortion? Products we’ve paid good hard-earned money for become redundant after only a short use. One example is Apple changing the headphone jack and charging ports on iPhones, so all your old charging cables and headphones are now useless. Money thrown in the bin. Living in a throw-away society has led to us throwing away money and big business knows we have little to no choice but pay up.

Now that I’ve eased you in, how about we investigate something more serious, like education. I’ve spoken to several concerned parents recently who only through the introduction of mandatory home-schooling have they begun to worry about the subject matter being taught to our children. This is something I have been aware of for quite some years, but now many of you are seeing just how often political biases and teacher’s opinions are being taught as facts. And how many of us have complained that our teens weren’t taught how to understand their vote, or how to apply for a home loan, or complete a tax return, or the workings of insurance, or the basic principles of our rights and obligations under constitutional law? Important information that would help steer the course of their lives. And don’t get me started on how words are being misused and their meanings twisted or even abolished, for the sake of simplicity and political correctness. Could the system that is supposed to expand knowledge, really be dumbing down our children?

How about our health system? Its kind of at pinnacle importance currently! How many of us have conditions which doctors have masked with drugs without identifying the cause? How many of you have stopped to research the drugs your GP prescribes? With the global push towards private health, how can we rely on a system that makes a profit by keeping us unwell? Think about it, someone in a big corporation is getting richer simply by exploiting our reality and our natural fear of suffering illness, pain, and death. And let’s not even begin to point out the flaws in the scientific community and the recent pandemic!

And its not just for-profit corporations that have warped agendas, how about churches and charities? Purposed to be places of solace to bolster faith, stand in truth, support the disenfranchised and radiate hope…. yet many of us have found the integrity of such places to be a complete disappointment. Aside from all the revelations of pedophilia, condemnation, and corruption, or the guilt trips set to coax you out of your hard earned dollars, to line their pockets or earn brownie points and gain bragging rights. Most of them simply don’t mean what they say. When integrity has completely left the church, you gotta know Jesus has left the building!

Lets get back to you…

How many of you are concerned about what to feed your family? By now many of you understand that processed and fast foods, which we have all been consuming by the truck load, since the 80’s, are poisoning us. We see the increasing amount of illnesses and allergies, disorders and inflammation, auto-immune conditions and hormone imbalances, syndromes and diseases impacting our quality of life, all of which are exacerbated by GMO’s, sugar, preservatives, artificial additives, hormones, MSG, pesticides, antifungals and more. All of which saturate products we chomp down to survive. We are beginning to see the hypocrisy that an organic meal costs 3-4 times a meal that is filled with poison. Yet even with both parents working full-time (while missing out on knowing what their kids are learning at school or watching on TV), the average family still can’t afford to feed their children non-poisonous food, or afford the medical insurance for when they get sick.

Whilst I would love to go on a spiel about the government, law, and politics, especially with the current restrictions on our freedoms, not to mention mandatory vaccines, microchips, climate change, 5G or the Magna Carta, I feel that is a rabbit-hole we could get lost in for quite some time, and by now you’re probably ready to check out from this blog post and this world with all its flawed systems. So, I will leave all that to your own research and imagination.

It’s reasonable to feel overwhelmed and helpless when surrounded by countless flawed systems, but all is not lost.

We the people are waking up to the scams, the hoaxes, the corruption, we are learning about our rights and our freedoms that our ancestors fought for. We are seeking for spiritual truth over dogma. We are searching out alternative health services and growing our own food, we are challenging our children to think for themselves and avoid swallowing their teacher’s biases.

Just like any good blockbuster, there is good and evil influencing our systems. Most of the systems mentioned above are influenced by the flesh, by greed, selfishness, thirst for power and control. They are influenced by evil, which has always set about to counterfeit the original trustworthy design of the universe.

Its no coincidence that our planet is precisely located to facilitate life perfectly, where 1 degree closer or further away from the sun would result in our destruction. Its no coincidence that organic food is best for us or that natural remedies hold untold healing capabilities. Its no coincidence that families succeed and survive better when they are a solid unit. Its no coincidence that intelligence grows as we discover more opportunities to ask questions and think for ourselves. Its no coincidence that evil is being exposed and its systems are being revealed as flawed, for the scriptures have spoken of these things for millennia. But in the end it ALL works out perfectly!

Therefore, I encourage you to have hope, especially those who have avoided reading scripture. This is all exactly how God said it would go, He warned us through His sevants the Prophets, but we chose our own way, we allowed our unrighteous urges and indulgences to drive the systems of this world instead of submitting to God’s wisdom. But the good news is that He also put in a contingency plan, so that none should perish. A Saviour, an intercessor, someone who upended evil’s opportunity for success, someone who told us that a new system, one completely other-worldly, would come in place of all current systems. A new government with Christ in charge! He passed the test, He overcame the desires of the flesh to overpower us. Instead, Christ showed us that serving all, having faith and giving up His life, His rulership and His rights for His people is what a trustworthy ruler looks like. All there is left to do is come to Him and await His return as King!

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

11/02/2020

Seek Not to Alter Me

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:17 pm by The Water Bearer

“Cheer up”

“Calm Down”

“Harden Up”

“Take a Breath”

“Just Chill”

“What’s Wrong Now?”

“That’s crazy talk”

“Geeze you’re a lot to take, aren’t you!”

If you have a mental illness, you might hear feedback like this all the time. Usually from those around you who feel they are being helpful by telling you how to ACT ‘normally’.

I recently watched the movie ‘Joker‘, and yep ok it was little darker than I usually like, but for the sake of research into mental illness I thought “Heck, I’m just gonna give it a go.”

Just as predicted it was dark, I mean really dark, and brilliantly acted!

As I watched intently, gripping my throw-pillow and cringing at the brutality, one statement POPPED like fireworks when I saw it. It was simply brilliant!

Joker writes in his journal –

‘The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”

This sums it up folks! WOW! I mean WOW!

I’ve been at this a long time, well over a decade, I am unmedicated and functional despite my episodes of Cyclothymia (a form of Bipolar with long-lasting episodes, some last months, others can last years). I know the tools that help me avoid episodes and the tools that help me cope with episodes, and I use them daily. When I’m feeling at my worst, I struggle to be around anyone who wants me to behave like they want, or even to behave like I would when I’m not episodic. But the reality is, I can’t keep that up for long, and often “playing sane” can trigger a spiral into an even more severe episode, making life so much harder to deal with.

I often think how nice it would be if someone asked “How you doing today Claire-Bear?”

and I could reply “I’m actually mid-episode at the moment and struggling to be here.”

and have them reply, “Well good on you for showing up and giving it a go, if you need a time out or want someone to talk it all through with, just holler.”

But I rarely reply that way, and the times I do, I usually get looks of pity or motivational speeches and well meaning advice on how to manage my mood better. Some people just back away slowly, wide-eyed, not making any sudden movements, never to ask how I am again. I’ve even had people take offence and say “well I’m here now, you could at least cheer up for me!” or “I can’t believe you didn’t accept my invitation” or “I can’t believe you asked me to leave before I was ready.”

With all the awareness around mental illness of late, when will we as a society realise that there is no benefit in encouraging people to “Be Normal” when none of us are normal all the time, and life would be very boring if we were. You’d prefer to be accepted or at least tolerated, even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, because lets face it, you’re not perfect, no one is. Perhaps more of you could be authentic in your downtimes and weirdness if there wasn’t such negative feedback when you come clean?

Remember: An episode is not just a sad mood, or an extra does of energy, that can be altered to suit the crowd if you will it…And it doesn’t mean we can be written off as dysfunctional and useless either!

I am very lucky, I have a number of friends, family and colleagues who get me, they just do. They appreciate my amazing qualities and accept my horrifying ones. They don’t hold it against me when I act in ways that seem selfish or crazy, they give me the benefit of the doubt and don’t take it personally. They show support and they listen, they don’t sit counting how many times I interrupted them while in a manic state or take offense, demanding that I should “learn how to LISTEN!” They don’t get pissed off when I drop off the grid for a bit and stop initiating contact when I’m wrestling with depression, they reach out and say “Hi” with no expectations. They don’t hold against me the stances I take or excessive advice I give, they appreciate the wisdom I’ve gained from my overactive analytical mind and depth of thought.

So the next time you notice our imperfections…. instead of trying to make us act like you want, you could try saying

“That’s cool, You just do You.” or “I’m here if you need, Babe.” or a simple “I love you”.

That goes for behind our backs too, because eventually snide remarks all come out and who can tell the damage they can do to someone’s soul?

05/11/2019

The Power of Pets

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , at 10:43 am by The Water Bearer

When I was a little girl I was riddled with fear. I now understand that I am highly sensitive and the world is a daunting place for a child when things overwhelm and impact you severely more than your siblings. I felt misunderstood, petrified, ashamed, and broken. When I talk about my childhood in this blog, I usually focus on healing the trauma, but of course trauma is not the whole story.

Every little girl dreams of owning a pony, but as a child of 3 in a home with a single mum, I lowered my expectations to wanting a dog. It wasn’t just a longing, it was a desperate need. I even stole a puppy from a litter our friend’s dog had and told my Mum it just followed me home. “It must be meant to be my dog!” I fibbed. Even after my Mum caved in and let me keep a puppy from another litter the same dog had some years later, we soon realised it was unfair to leave a little dog alone at home all day everyday and my lovely little ‘Buffy’ ended up living out her happy life as a lap dog to my favourite Aunt.

‘Buffy’

Now, when I see how attentive my little Jack Russel is to my mood and sensitivities, and after all the new evidence about the benefits of anxiety pets, it makes sense that as a terrified sensitive child, why I was desperate to have a pet. There is something so spiritually soothing and special about running your hand over the soft fur of a loyal creature who’s purpose in life is simply to make you happy. It’s only now that I’m older and more aware of mental health struggles that I realised the profound impact having a pet can have.

Some years later, when I was on the brink of adolescence, my big sister was given the chance to lease a horse. Mum had always loved horses and had arranged riding lessons for us from when we were toddlers living in England, so when the opportunity arose to exercise and look after this gorgeous Bay gelding in a paddock not far from our home, it seemed too good to be true. “Prince” immediately became a treasured part of our family, and once we were in the local horsey community another horse was leased for me. ‘Crinalea’ was a mountain pony with a bad attitude, but we soon became friends with lots of pony club and practice, and my early teen years filled up quickly with all things horsey.

‘Prince’

Despite the financial struggles, Mum worked her arse off for us to eventually buy Prince, and while Crinalea wasn’t for sale, Mum allowed me to buy my own horse from the Trading Post. He was a stunning chestnut Arabian gelding called “Rusty”. Rusty quickly became my best friend in the entire world! (I have goosebumps covering my legs as I write his name, and happy tears well up). Rusty had been trained to be a dressage horse, (which if you don’t know, is prancing in boring circles) “He doesn’t jump, and he doesn’t do sporting events, he is only a dressage horse!” His owner informed me emphatically. I would have agreed to anything, because I had fallen in love with him the moment I saw him. Rusty and I had some amazing years together, he was the best therapy pet, so trustworthy and such a good listener. Galloping on his back was powerful enough to wash away the most painful of tears and his kisses gave me the unconditional love I craved. Funnily enough after a few months of pony club Rusty proved to be a ribbon-winning sporting horse and a brilliant jumper. He would do anything I asked of him with his whole heart, and soon it was clear that neither of us much like dressage! I was in horsey heaven.

Having a horse taught me so much more than I ever imagined. It taught me the internal fortitude needed to control a huge animal, and a sense of confidence from all that I achieved on Rusty’s back. It taught me about responsibility and duty of care, and once I started working and had to take on the financial burden, I realised Mum had made an impossible dream possible for us. I eventually sold Rusty when I no longer had the time or finances to keep him, and he spent his last years as a cherished horse at a riding school for the disabled. He was the most trustworthy horse they’d ever had and I took my daughter to spoil him with carrots when she was 5 years old. He was fat, happy and retired by then. It was a grateful and teary farewell.

Those years with Rusty remain as the most wonderful part of my childhood, I will forever be grateful for them.

Thanks so much Mum xxx

If you have sensitive children or perhaps you struggle yourself with anxiety, let me give pets a plug. They teach us so much while bringing many blessings. Thank you Lord for the power of pets! 🙌

‘Rusty’

11/10/2019

Balancing Bipolar

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:21 am by The Water Bearer

Getting diagnosed with Bipolar can be a bittersweet experience. Part of you is relieved to finally have a reason for the strange cycles in your mood and behaviour that causes instability in your life, while another part feels broken, ashamed, angry and even helpless.

But having a mood disorder is a pretty common occurrence in today’s age, and it’s no wonder really. Our lifestyle is highly stimulated and reactive, self-regulation has decreased since the idea of indulgence became humanities priority, our culture’s lean away from family stability, and the impact of spiritual influences increases as time winds up. I’m surprised any of us are actually sane!

There are some simple things we can all do to manage our mood swings and balance out our behaviour. So let’s ditch the stigma and face the situation with hope and these helpful tips.

1. Get Informed

Your moods, your behaviour and your diagnoses are your responsibility, they are not the responsibility of your parents, or your Doctor, or your spouse or your friends. We can gain support from these sources but ultimately any issue that comes up in our lives is an opportunity for growth in our understanding. So educate yourself. We live in the Information Age, and if you’re suffering from any condition and haven’t armed yourself with knowledge about it, then you aren’t really participating in life, are you? You’ve checked out, feeling sorry for yourself, denying the struggles of life in the hope they will just magically disappear. That my friend is a recipe destined for Hell on Earth!

2. Seek Truth

There is a LOT of bullshit information out there, and lots of amazing genuine stuff too. Its your job to be realistic about this when gathering research about your conditions. If one article says to sleep more during a depressed episode, look for any articles that promote exercise during depression. Or if one article says you must take prescription medications, look for ones that explain the side-effects and offer natural options, and always use some good old fashioned common sense before doing anything radical. Opposing views aren’t the enemy, they are the way to see the whole picture of your condition without someone’s biased agenda misleading you and wasting your time. Get honest with yourself too, about how your condition impacts your life and the lives of your loved ones. Rather than getting overwhelmed by ALL the issues you’re facing, just pick the most important one to you, and focus on that until you feel you have a good grasp of what you’re dealing with before expanding to a new topic.

3. Self Care

Some simple daily practices can settle your focus and level out the reactivity of your moods. Having a routine filled with self care is vital if you want to take back control of your life and not be at the mercy of whatever ‘wobbly’ your condition throws your way. Things like a morning ritual of stretching, meditation, journaling, and prayer are wonderful ways to start the day inspired and balanced. Peaceful time out away from screens, errands, chores and work is imperitive to reset and restore your body and mind. A few hours on a blanket in the sun, a long slow walk, a massage, or an art project can bring a sense of control back to our minds. Preparing and eating healthy non-processed foods will make a huge difference to the spikes of sugar levels, while avoiding caffeine and alcohol will calm the nervous system and rejuvenate your natural motivation. Of course no self care practice would be complete without a regular sleep cycle. Going to bed and rising early every day has an amazing impact on our neurotransmitters (brain chemistry). If you struggle to fall asleep, use a screen filter on your phone to remove the blue light after 7pm, avoid screens all together 30 mins before sleep, and a simple cup of chamomile tea never goes astray.

4. Choose your influencers

Influencers are all the rage on social media, and what we read, listen to and engage with has a massive effect on our own patterns of mood and behaviour. If you pay close attention to what you’re feeding your soul with and who you spend your time with, you may realise where you need to trim back on what influences your life. Not just what you follow on social media or watch on Netflix, but also your friends, family and co-workers. Learning to set up some boundaries to protect yourself from impulsive, irresponsible or toxic influences can bring a whole new level of peace to your life than you ever thought possible!

5. Acceptance 

Pretending you don’t have Bipolar or any other condition is not going to help you achieve peace and victory in life, and neither is resisting it. Life would be dull and boring-as-bat-shit if we didn’t have struggles and challenges to test our resilience and strengthen our character. So its time to get over the self-pity and recognise that EVERYONE has their cross to bear, their battle to face, this just happens to be yours. There are plenty of things to be grateful for, at least you’re living in a time of compassion and understanding around these issues and not being burned at the stake for being weird. Acceptance and gratitude play a big part in how well you manage your condition, and that’s not to say you’ll never have a breakdown or a blow out pity-party from time to time, but your attitude of acceptance can be an anchor to come back to whenever the wheels do come off.

6. Keep the Faith

Despite the suckiness of your diagnoses, God is trustworthy, He can turn your trials into triumphs, and your tests into testimonies. But its important to remember that the spiritual realm has to be balanced too. So for all the curses you may be battling, there are blessings scattered amongst them, especially if you plant the seeds of faith during life’s storms. King David who wrote the Psalms, had some serious mood swings and behavioural disorders to contend with, and reading his stories can bring much comfort as he pours faith into each tumultuous circumstance. For all the good God can and will do in your life, the enemy is here to level the playing field, so keeping an eye on his schemes is vital to keep a clear perspective on what you deal with day-in and day-out, and where to channel your energy in fighting against him. If you want to read more on this, this blog is filled with heaps of ways to refocus your faith and defeat the enemy, victory is certain!

 

 

 

 

10/08/2018

Giving The Devil His Dues

Posted in Finding Faith, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:24 pm by The Water Bearer


We’ve believed for too long that evil lingers only in the shadows of the world and in wicked people, when the truth is far more difficult to accept.

My favourite quote from my favourite movie, The Italian Job, goes like this,

“I trust everyone, I just don’t trust the devil inside them” – Donald Sutherland.

This is my absolute favourite quote because it sums up so simply the hidden location of the enemy of God. A fact I’ve been intent on exposing ever since I can remember.

Whether we have figured it out yet or not, everyone has elements of divine righteousness within the fabric of their being, at the same time, everyone has elements of the exact opposite. Its in facing these elements within ourselves that we discover the problem with the world and the source of the solution. We can then direct the focus of our efforts in faith to the frontline of the war, instead of losing the war to ignorance and going about business as usual.

No longer can we sit by and point our finger out into the world, at the media, the terrorists, the dictators and the criminals and say “That’s the Devil”. It’s far too easy, and quite frankly its a cop out. Yes there is evil ‘out there’ but it’s in here too. Ignoring it, having a tantrum or complaining about it isn’t going to change the state of reality.

We live in a fallen world, and yes the enemy is doing everything he can to steer us into destruction, but since when have you been able to change the state of the entire world? So, why would God give us promises throughout the whole of scripture that we can overcome the enemy, if evil’s ‘out there’ and uncontrollable? Why would there be scripture’s reminding us that we can use the weapons available to us found in the Word to stand in victory and righteousness, if we are simply forced to be neighbours with ‘evil’ for our entire lives?

Fair enough, for those who haven’t found the gems of truth in the Word, I guess its easy to say “Its all a load of rot” and be done with it and go back to feeling helpless in an evil world.

However for those who have really experienced the amazing truth that God is trustworthy to fulfil His Word, then we have to stop passing the buck of evil onto others and finally give the devil his dues.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) 

That urge to control others instead of yourself, that’s him. That desire to decide for yourself what you would do if you were God, him again! That decision based entirely on selfish motives, that’s him too. The idea that we can pretty up our outsides with rituals and religiosity to be seen as righteous, that is his allure. That whisper of bitterness that focuses on the faults in others instead of asking what our role in the saga might have been, that’s got his name all over it. That fear that tells you you’re not worthy, or the arrogance that tells you you’re worth more than others, that’s his calling card. And the presumption of knowing enough scripture to then condemn and manipulate others, that is his ace card.

Scripture is the scalpel, it will reveal the hidden intentions of your heart and mine, but it is a deeply private affair. Facing up to our motives takes more courage than I can muster. The awareness of my own inner enemies is what keeps me thirsting for truth, grace and strength at the feet of my Saviour. In spite of the evil within, I can think of no better place to be.

 

 

12/03/2018

Identifying & Overcoming Emotional Abuse

Posted in Family, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:42 pm by The Water Bearer

Most of us can recall a time in our life when we felt scared, threatened, yelled at, picked on, blamed, criticised, belittled, controlled and so on. Whether it was a rare event, maybe from a school bully, a grumpy teacher, a boss, or a family member having a bad day, or perhaps an ongoing occurrence for many years, at some point it has happened to us all…. Throughout this article I’ll share some of my own personal experience on this topic (which I have never actually verbalised publicly). But for now it’s important to understand that the actions listed above are all classified as emotional or psychological abuse.

When we’re exposed to any form of abuse it can have severe long term effects on self-worth and mental stability. I can testify to this truth. The psychological abuse Ive experienced is still a contributing factor of the deep Inner Enemies I face on a regular basis. So when do the behaviours above transition from a normal part of life, into life altering abuse that needs to be identified and treated?

This article has some definitions of emotionally abusive behaviours, and states…

“Beverly Engels defines emotional abuse “as any nonphysical behavior that is designed to control, intimidate, subjugate, demean, punish, or isolate another person through the use of degradation, humiliation, or fear.” The purpose or attitude behind emotional abuse can be conscious, subconscious or unconscious.”

It is important to recognise your own feelings when determining if someone is possibly abusive toward you. If, while in their company, you commonly feel unsure, afraid, stressed, like walking on eggshells, or an unhealthy need to prove yourself, it may be due to some form of abuse. The tricky thing about being abused by someone you love or look up to, is that you constantly look to them for approval. You may get momentary praise, attention, and even affection, but it is never stable enough to stand on, because before long they are blowing up, yelling, name calling, or criticising once again. You begin to believe that if you could only be ‘good enough’ they would have no reason to be angry at you, no reason to yell, no reason to find fault in you. Apologies may or may not come after the abuse, however if the behaviour doesn’t change, and you feel unable to sever contact, you may be stuck in a cycle of abuse.

Cycle_of_Abuse

 

 

In order to break the cycle of abuse, it is vital to realise that their abusive conduct has absolutely nothing to do with our ‘bad’ behaviour. No matter how ‘well-behaved’ we are, they will always find a ‘reason’ to become critical and abusive. If you notice closely, often when you do really well and succeed in anything, they actually pull you back down, saying things like “You think you’re so much better than the rest of us don’t you” Its a toxic cycle. Make a mistake and you feel you are worth less than dirt, do well and succeed and you are labelled self-righteous and arrogant. It’s an vicious unhealthy mindset to try to function in, trust me! But you CAN BREAK FREE FROM IT!

The difficult part is, that even once you have come to this understanding, old patterns are hard to break, especially in a relationship with a spouse, a family member, parent or sibling etc. It’s almost impossible to relax around someone who is abusive, you can learn to control your reactions, set good boundaries, and keep your distance, but sure enough when the time comes to interact with them once again, the subconscious nervous system goes haywire, you watch what you say, hold your breath, waiting for it….

As mentioned above, sometimes the abuser is completely unaware that their behaviour is actually abuse, especially in the case of psychological abuse as there are no bruises or external scars to prove it. Often without proper therapy, someone who has been emotionally abused themselves isn’t able to identify it as abuse, and therefore can’t recognise when their own behaviour becomes abusive. Developing self-awareness and recognising if our emotions are uncontrollable, manipulative or used as excuses for any of the behaviours mentioned early, is vital if we are to identify our own possibly abusive behaviour.

I recently read this excellent post just to gain more understanding of abuse, and abusers who are unaware of their abusive behaviour. I just had to share a portion of this article with you….

When coming to the understanding of where the roots of her abuse began the blogger writes…

“It isn’t so much about blame as it is about the truth. Blame was like a stepping stone on the journey; it was necessary for me to go there. There was blame that had been misapplied to me and I had to put it back where it belonged. Once I saw the truth I was able to heal. I no longer have the anger and resentments that I had for most of my life. I also no longer have the pain of living with such broken self esteem and low self worth that I mistakenly believed was there because there was something “wrong” with me”.

I’ve been researching this subject for many years, fascinated by the power emotions can have over us. Determined to put a stop to my own manipulative emotions and ensure the legacy of emotional anarchy was not passed onto my children. It was the main reason for beginning my journey of faith and self-awareness.

It took a long time to understand the powerful effect this abuse had on my insecurities. Many years of therapy unraveled how each painful memory had affected me, and uncovered some memories I hadn’t realised were damaging my mental health long term. At some point I had an epiphany, I identified the abuse for what it was and realised that there was no way I could stop it, but knew I had to choose to defy it. I had to stop validating the compliments, I had to stop seeking approval, I had to dismiss my urge for affection. I had to allow abusive people to have as many issues with me as they liked and learn to ignore it. I had to stop trying to adapt to others expectations and adapt to my own instead. I had to trust God to defend me and hand it all over to Him. All these strategies are easier said than done, but they are possible. With a healthy dose of self-awareness, development of good boundaries, and trust in the promises of God to love you, heal you and deal with those who do you wrong.  The Psalms are filled with prayers, hymns and praise about God’s deliverance from thine enemies.

Yep, I’ve been working hard for decades and now I am at a new challenging stage…. Forgiveness  (OUCH)

Funnily enough I always thought I was forgiving, because I put myself back in that firing line over and over again. Plus I tried so hard not to use the abuse as a reason to in turn become abusive. I kept civil and polite as much as possible. I took the hit (so to speak), recoiled in pain, put some distance between us and then once the dust had settled and I believed I had moved into forgiveness, off I went back in. I realise now that forgiveness isn’t about staying in contact with my abuser. I can keep my distance and still forgive. They may not feel forgiven, or accept my choice, and I guess that was always my problem, I wanted them to understand my reasons for distancing myself. I wanted desperately to explain how much it hurt. I wanted them to admit it and stop it. But that never came.

It was freeing to accept that forgiving them is not about them, its about me. Its about giving myself permission to step out of the firing line, while forgiving the misunderstanding, and the false-accusations. However, the voices in my head need forgiveness too, and all the strangers whom I now fear abuse from even before they have inflicted it. I need to forgive myself for allowing it to go on SO LONG!

I’m actually really excited by this new level of understanding. I’m eager to practice forgiveness, even if it hurts, because at least now I know I’m almost at the end of a very long journey towards healing! And then only God knows what I’ll be capable of when the fear of abuse, and the fear of criticism is no longer a constant voice in my head that needs silencing, but has become a long and distant memory.

Psalm 138:7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

 

 

 

 

 

01/08/2017

Please Excuse My Self-Care

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by The Water Bearer

So often in my own life, and in the stories I’ve heard from loved ones, acquaintances and potential clients, self-care takes a back seat. Usually because we have somewhere along the way believed the stream of accusations of our selfishness, whenever we disappoint someone, either from critics around us, or our own internal voice. We find ourselves with no free time or energy, as we try to meet all the demands and responsibilities placed upon us.

We then transform into people pleasers, consumed by pedantic expectations, driving us to twist and mould into the cookie cutter shape someone else has decided we should fit. We tend to fall into the mindset that if we put everyone else’s needs before our own, then we must be right. Righteous even!

After this song and dance routine for a few years, it can be common to hit a wall. I don’t know about you, but I found it exhausting trying to keep appeasing each new unpredictable disappointment in those around me.

We are prickly creatures sometimes, us human beings, and we have a knack for taking our crap out on those closest to us. If we are lacking in self-awareness we fail to understand where the line is that allocates blame, and unable to own our own disappointments. Rather, we let fly on others, with only excuses and accusations for the outbursts.

For those of us who have commonly been on the receiving end of these outbursts, becoming a “People Pleaser” is almost second nature. Cleary accusations and guilt trips are obviously things we instinctively want to avoid, and it is often easier to change ourselves accordingly, especially when there is no apology in sight to release us from the blame.

The reason this constant shape shifting drives us into that wall, is because shape-shifting actually prevents us from knowing who we are, what our purpose is, and where we draw self-esteem from. Which is completely unsustainable long term. Plus the inner discomfort is toxic, and it usually manifests in our lives in self-destructive and unhealthy ways. Binge drinking, eating, smoking, promiscuity, and other addiction based behaviours.  Shape shifting consumes our self-compassion and our joy, leaving us with a tank emptier than an oily rag.

If we think about it logically, we only become more selfish when our tank is empty, we begin to put up walls so that we have fewer people to please. Often that empty tank leads to some form of physically illness and we suddenly realise that our illness is a wonderful way to shift the blame off our shoulders, a great excuse for failing to meet the demands of our relationships and our lives ….”I can’t keep you happy when I’m not 100% can I?”

Now be careful if this is starting to sound familiar, because it can become a viscous cycle!

This is a common reason why so many avoid regular therapy, or avoid any serious steps to develop their faith. They avoid making any positive changes in their diet, exercise regime or bad habits, and it’s why they remain stuck in a rut with staggering levels of low self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, and selfish misery.

However, setting aside time and effort, creativity and passion for your self care and the things that fill your soul, is actually going to benefit more people in the long run.

Hear me out on this.

It seems everyone now is talking about self-care vs selfishness, and the difference between having self-interest and being selfish. Is it more and more common for people to use ‘self care’ it as an excuse to get out of doing the things they don’t want to do? Which actually if you think about it, takes healthy self-care and turns it into selfishness. HOWEVER, if a little self-interest helps generate more self-awareness, less reactive behaviours, and increases joy, self-compassion and tolerance. The fall out it seems, is that self-tolerance leads to increased ability to tolerate others, self-care increases our ability to care for others in healthy ways, spreading joy and peace. Perhaps the only negative consequence is that we just might piss off a few high maintenance people along the way. Which we were probably already doing for the wrong reasons before, and I can tell you, that they will be singing a different tune when you find your tank full enough to actually help them when they Really need it!

So go ahead, give yourself permission to take care of yourself! Attend that Sanctuary Stretch Class, take ten minutes to listen to that Scripture -Meditation, enjoy some quiet moments in that warm bubble bath. Start that project you’ve been pondering. Set in place some healthy practices and protect your need to honour them. You not only Deserve it.. you Need it!

www.sanctuarystretch.com 

Sanctuary Stretch on YouTube

22/07/2015

Ignorant Chaos

Posted in Finding Faith, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:48 am by The Water Bearer

Lucy

I watched the blockbuster “Lucy” some time back and enjoyed it immensely. Some of the quotes that came out of it were extremely profound. I will have to do a bit of research to capture all of them but one in particular stood out to me. It was spoken by the main character Lucy, who was unlocking areas of her brain no human had used before. The quote came prompted by Morgan Freeman’s character who stated.. “All this knowledge, Lucy — I’m not even sure that mankind is ready for it. Given man’s nature, it might bring us only instability and chaos.” to which Lucy replies….

“Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.”

This quote sits heavily upon me as I look back throughout my life. I recall the many previous ignorant versions of myself that lacked knowledge in certain situations and the chaos that surrounded me. I lived in a perpetual state between insecure co-dependance and arrogant self-righteousness.

While I struggle with arrogance and ignorance from time to time, I have become overwhelmingly grateful for the knowledge that came from each new learning experience and each mentor, helping my life transform to a much more peaceful one. A life where I can accept my short comings and hunger for strength of mind. Learning not only about the world systems, but the spiritual ones and learning about myself and experiencing the unknown.

While I appreciate all this learning, and the ability to research any topic my heart or mind desires, I am aware that there are many who actually avoid knowledge. Some dismiss it, ignore it, some even defend against it.

The scriptures gives us clear guidance towards wisdom.

Proverbs 2:10-11  for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.

If ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge, is it likely then, that those who reject knowledge, are simply too used to their chaos to want to change it?

I am certain the inner enemy of pride is at play here, by discouraging submission to the wisdom of others, confusing our compass so we choose to dismiss knowledge mistaking it for merely one persons opinion. I admit this form of pride has played its role in my life, how about yours?

I think a major key to receiving learning, is being able to tell the difference between an opinion and knowledge. It is respectful to hear opinions and accept everyone’s right to have their own, and it is also perfectly acceptable to avoid applying opinions you disagree with, but knowledge isn’t an opinion. We must learn to discern where knowledge differs and see the value in it.

Another key to receiving learning is having the humility to be teachable, knowing that as long as we are confined to our earthly walk we will always have something to learn. That even if we know a subject inside and out, there is still the possibility to discover something new about it. I admit it is hard to keep a teachable spirit. It is much easier to stay in one spot, tell yourself you have done enough, you can handle where you are, and not pursue the hard work of change.

Asking the hard questions and being willing to change can be daunting and a long process, however nothing quite compares to looking at yourself after a while and saying “Wow, I have grown. I am different, I am better. How awesome!” It makes the hard work truly worth it.

Knowledge

16/06/2014

Toxic Emotional Choices*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:26 am by The Water Bearer

decision ahead

There is no denying it, strong emotions easily influence our decisions, and not usually in a good way.

We’ve all experienced overwhelming emotions in varying degrees in our lives. Times when clarity evades us under a dark cloud of confusing heartache, desperation, anguish, guilt, fear….

Even enjoyable emotions can negatively influence our decisions, especially in relationships. We feel so strongly, emotionally excited, that we let our pursuit of those feelings misguide our ability to be logical and rational regarding the pace we let the relationship develop and how deeply or quickly we invest our trust. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships as well. Our desire to be loved and accepted can smother the logic that recognizes a red flag and should deter us from believing flattery and false promises.

Negative emotions can cause us to make rash reactive decisions, without evaluating at the time, we may not like the long term consequences. We have all made a decision in the heat of the moment only to realize we would have done things differently had we had control of the emotions effecting us at the time.

I suffer from a few psychological issues, mainly anxiety and a manic/depressive mood disorder. Unstable emotions play a huge role in my daily life. I am extremely guilty of letting emotions control my decisions in the past, and truth be told, they still haunt me sometimes.

So what has changed?    ….   Lots!

We may not be able to stop our emotions, but we can prevent them from poisoning our choices. Oh and don’t be confused here: Reactions are not choices. However, using our emotions to excuse our reactions is a choice.

Through many years of therapy and self-awareness I have learned not to trust my emotions. I have learned to accept them as a reactive response but I know if I act too quickly while experiencing the emotion I will regret it later. So I had to set myself some rules.

It is important to develop your own set of rules, by looking back over your life and seeing the patterns. If you know you always find yourself in the same predicaments over and over, seek a Councillor/Psychologist to help you establish some rules that are healthy for you and the decisions you want to make in future.

Look carefully at the people you spend time with. Are they empowering your emotions and encouraging impulsive choices? Or do they display self-control and rational choices? We are all influenced by the  people we associate with on a regular basis, but the beauty is we get to choose not to spend time with those who negatively impact us.

A stable confidant is vital to this transition, to detoxing our decision making.

 

detox

 

When dealing with volatile situations and strong emotions, get some distance from the immediate situation and speak to someone who you know has a calm, unemotional sense of reason before doing anything else.

Remember: A little prayer goes a long way. If you resonate with this post but doubt your ability to overcome your overpowering emotions, ask your Heavenly Father for some help, read His Word. Through Christ’s strength ALL things are possible!

christ

 

23/10/2013

A Need for Tolerance

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:21 pm by The Water Bearer

tolerance

Lately I have noticed that I am praying a lot for tolerance… Tolerance from others while I am at my worst, tolerance for others when I’m irritated by them, and tolerance in others when they need it.

Tolerance is defined, in the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary as –

*Willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.

*The ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.

“Tolerance” … This word just seems to keep popping up all over conversations lately. Or is it only around me?

For most of my “pre-therapy” life, and before my Dad began to show me a new way, I used to have very little tolerance. If I thought you were out of line I would call you on it straight away, no grace, no compassion, no self-awareness. I was young, defensive, and quite honestly, very insecure. It made me feel better about myself, if I came across faults in others. I notice this is very common practice in many people.

When my Dad taught me about grace, he made me try to find excuses for all types of behaviours which I regularly found unacceptable. He tried to get me to step out from who I am, what I know, what I think, and see any situation from another perspective. It helped me begin to give grace to others for things I would usually get annoyed at. This didn’t only help others feel more comfortable around me, it also made me feel more comfortable in situations that would usually irritate me. That’s the thing about tolerance, it works both ways. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being irritated or blindly irritating others, so this was such a blessed lesson for me.

After years of therapy and faith, I have noticed something valuable that I want to share with you….

The more I love and accept myself, the more I work on being my best self, the more tolerance I have for my imperfections, then the more I seem to create a buffer of tolerance around me.

I began to notice more and more, that the small annoying imperfections of others generally roll off my back. I no longer go about continuously and harshly judging others because I know how hard it can be to get things right all the time. Snide remarks don’t always make me feel like I must respond and put them back in their place. The criticisms of others don’t always make me defend myself by trying to make them change their mind about me. Almost like a big cushion softening the blows that would normally have me reeling in despair and reacting with aggression. Life has taught me about grace. How greatly we need it ourselves when we are at our worst. How genuinely we can give it when others are at their worst.

Having greater tolerance doesn’t mean you permit others to treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. It is that you are less effected by their ill-treatment or irritating behaviour. It doesn’t bother you as much as it does when your level of tolerance is low. What it does give you, is a more stable platform from which you can decide when someone’s behaviour has crossed a line, rather than reacting irrationally out of intolerance. Then you can set a boundary in place to protect yourself, before their behaviour begins to effect you in an extremely negative way.

There is only so much tolerance we can have when we are exposed to nastiness, abuse, and attack. We may tolerate these things for a period of time, but once you stand firmly on a foundation of self-acceptance and put up that boundary, you are stating to those around you that you will not tolerate being treated in a way that lacks decency.

I believe it is important for people to own their actions. Setting in place a boundary, gives you a place of protection until they are willing to own up to their mistreatment of you and repair any damage. Some will, and many won’t, but at least you won’t spend your days being in a state of irritated intolerance. You may even be able to move forward with peace…..

less friction

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for tolerance. Help us all come to understand your grace and build up your truths in our hearts and minds. Help us accept ourselves as your wonderfully made creations, and help us increase the amount of tolerance in our lives. Let us know your instructions clearly when it is time to set up a boundary, and give us security in your strength and protection. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name, I pray.

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