24/07/2015

Sins of the ‘Filter’

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:56 am by The Water Bearer

filter

It is easy to take credit for all the talents we pass onto our children, however it is often much harder to admit that we pass on our curses also. This valuable piece of understanding has been the main motivator for me to accept my faults, identify my curses, and work towards change within myself and my life. For the sake of my children, my two precious girls, I wanted more for them than the dysfunction I have lived with.

The main breakthrough at the beginning of my self-journey was discovering that my filter was broken.

You may be asking what on earth is your Filter?

The filter, as my psychologist titled it, is the part of our brain that tells us what to let out and what to keep back, what to let in and what to block out. For one example, it is the part of our mind that determines what is important, what is worth getting upset about and alternatively what is not worth getting upset about. I am not simply talking about the experience of internal emotions, I am also talking about the external voicing of our emotions, the times we show our anger, the times we lose our cool, the times we raise our voice, or force another to hear our unpleasant thoughts and feelings. I am talking about our considered self-talk, the conversations we have with ourselves that analyses our reactions and our paradigm.

This filter also helps us read others accurately. It determines when a situation calls for hostile opinions to be voiced or when discretion is required. It helps us determine if someone has actually wronged us and to what degree of intent, or if we have assumed the worst due to our insecurities or previous experiences. Our filter helps us decide whether being aggressively assertive is required, or if a more subdued form of confrontation would have more beneficial results, or if deflecting the situation and letting it go is best. It helps us discern if someone’s feedback is valid and worth application, or considering if it is merely an outburst without the use of their own filter.

There are numerous causes for a broken filter, only individual, psychological investigation can help determine the cause, and along with an honest relationship with God, it is also the only way to fix a damaged filter. There are countless issues that reverberate throughout the life of one with a damaged filter. It will effect all relationships, possibly career opportunities, and disrupt our sense of inner peace. And of course, sadly, it can cause these issues to transfer into the lives of our children, especially if we have not address it and passed the damage down the line.

I understand how difficult it can be to step back and take inventory of our reactions and responses, it can be daunting to re-evaluate yourself, your life and why you do what you do. Inner enemies encourage us to stay broken, they empower our resistance, preventing us from accepting our broken filter, which can impede us from pursuing the healing we require. A healthy filter prevents so much of the drama that seems to flood our lives, it helps us keep a safe healthy barrier from those who create problems and helps us understand how to best navigate the waters of relationships to bring more contentment and fulfillment.

If after reading this post you too wonder if your filter is broken, I thoroughly recommend praying for God to help you find the right therapist to address it. Be prepared to get very honest with yourself and after some tough work, look forward to the benefits of a healthier mindset. When we realize that our filter is broken, it can be tempting to use its damage as an excuse to deflect responsibility for our outbursts, bad reactions and the chaos that is usually partnered with this issue, rather than something we must take accountability for. But if we think it may be broken then we may be effecting others negatively, and it is unfair to all parties to leave it untreated. We must take ownership and accept the filter is part of us, we need to sincerely apologize to others whenever it misfires and make steps towards healing.

I have seen the fall out of this issue so often in myself and many around me, and I pray with my whole heart that the Lord reaches in and encourages our Inner Angels to fight against the enemy and the curse that is a broken filter. Not only for our sake, but the sake of those we love and the next generation.

steps

22/02/2013

Relaxed Mum, Happy Children*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:08 am by The Water Bearer

relaxed kids

Like many others, I always thought meditation required sitting in the lotus position or lying down, eyes closed, taking time to relax every muscle in your body, imagine your breath is like a river cleaning out your stress, stopping all thoughts, finding that illusive place of calm etc … Honestly, I find this quite difficult.

I have practiced and benefited from relaxation though. Before bed, when I am having trouble sleeping, or when I am really anxious about an upcoming event. But who are we kidding? If we had enough time to do this regularly, we wouldn’t be half as stressed in the first place. Most of the time I am too tired to try to focus for that long. Frustrating more than relaxing, right?

However, after a bit of research, and some great posts from fellow bloggers, I have discovered other concepts regarding meditation.

Simply put, meditation is practicing being present in the moment. That sounds easier said than done, so I will share a couple of my own tips.

The quickest way I find to center myself, is to imagine (in detail) the view God has looking down on me right now. I see what I am doing, where I am, what is around me, what face I am pulling, and how I am holding myself and so forth.

Then I go internal, I pay attention to what my body feels like, what I can hear, what thoughts and emotions I have in the forefront of my mind, what is the pace of my breathing, and then see if I can really slow it down.

I don’t deny or push away thoughts, I just accept them and look at them without judgement, which makes it easier to just let them go and go back to being present. Allowing myself a break from mind-wandering into the past or future.

As some may recall, I made a new years resolution and prayer in my post A Focused Mind. To attempt to become skilled in meditation in order to focus and reach my goals, to be inspired and more present, to relax and make room for my mind to process the changes I am working on as a mother. True to the Lords word He has already begun answering my prayer, I am definitely getting better at this. Showing my children how to learn to enjoy the present moment is becoming increasingly important to me. I believe a more ‘present’ relaxed Mum, means secure, happier children.

I have watched a few TED talks and Youtube Videos on meditation recently and learned more amazing benefits. “Meditating, it is like taking a magic pill that will lower anxiety, pain, depression and anger and will improve attention, immune system, self-control  and well-being.”

I want my children to experience these benefits too. Couldn’t we all do with this in our lives? Yet I bet, you can come up with a hundred excuses not to try this, starting with, “I don’t have enough spare time” or “I would forget to do it because I have too many other things to think about” (which is kind of the whole point).

There was a terrific idea on one of these videos.  The “Don’t wait… Meditate!” pledge.

Pretty simple really…

We all hate waiting because we are wasting precious time, but we all have to wait, on hold, in lines, at traffic lights, before appointments etc.

The pledge is to be present, to meditate while you are forced to wait. No extra time is required.

I meditate while driving to and from work, I do it when I am waiting to pick my girls up from school, or while someone I’m talking with has to take a phone call. I am learning to do it while I engage with people who I feel most sensitive around, I am noticing that this helps slow my defensive reactions so I can ease them somewhat.

Depending on Christ, along with analyzing and understanding my own behaviour, has been hugely responsible for why things are changing for the better around here. I am excited at the changes on the horizon.

The clip below was extremely valuable in helping me understand the why and how of meditation in more detail and I hope it blesses you all.

15/07/2012

A Fragile Heart*

Posted in Encouragement, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:22 pm by The Water Bearer

I haven’t been in the blogosphere much this week, because I am being dealt with, being brought a new level of perspective and change. I recognise that this type of growth usually springs forth from a fragile heart. My heart has been extremely fragile this week…..

In this condition I write and write, pouring my soul out in front of me. I have written 6 or 7 posts this week alone. Yet my state of mind and vulnerable heart are preventing me from seeing my words clearly and I am unable to trust myself or my writing. I am too close to it at the moment, so it’s impossible to edit or publish anything. I guess as usual I have too much to say.

I am going to try to use this time to withdraw, to calm my mind and spirit with relaxation, drink plenty of herbal tea and meditate on God’s word. Perhaps this break will even help me work on the novel which I have been trying to write for over a decade. I will come back to the wonderful blogosphere soon, I will read your fabulous posts and comment when I can get my head around it. I will publish only in God’s timing and His certainty. Until then I ask for your prayers, prayers for me to gain some clarity and some calm inspiration. I am fighting off my inner enemies as best I can, I need time to concentrate on my faith, put on God’s armor and call on my inner angels. I have faith that something amazing is going to emerge from the midst of these trials…..Until then…..

“Jehovah preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he saved me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; For Jehovah hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, Mine eyes from tears, And my feet from falling. I will walk before Jehovah In the land of the living.”

Psalms 116:6-9 (ASV)

06/07/2012

I’m Changing My Mind Because I Can*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:12 pm by The Water Bearer

One thing I despise about being a woman is when I have let my emotions take my mouth too far. You know, when you have crossed that line from reason, to some form of alien invasion, frightening your loved one half to death by who you have become, for reasons he cannot fathom for the life of him. It feels like while I’m running off at the mouth I get this ‘slow-motion’ realisation in the back of my mind that I am going to regret this pretty soon, but because it comes in slow motion, it sometimes hits me too late. Both my mouth  and my thought are headed to finish around the same time, only my mouth always manages to cross the line first! How frustrating!

Then I have two choices, I can sit on what I have said, letting the emotions hover around in my head, continuing to reason back and forth, in an unreasonable way, waiting for him to apologise for whatever he did or didn’t do that set me off. I could stay in my anger, justifying it to myself and causing tension to hang in the air, which might stubbornly last for days! Deep down I’d be hoping the poor man on the receiving end of my tirade, can see through my raging words into the hurt or fear (or PMS) that is causing them, and try to hear enough of my words to know that I really just need a cuddle and to be told everything will be alright (which, after a slaughtering, can be pretty hard for a guy to get to).

Or I can back-pedal as soon as I hear that thought creep up to meet my mouth. Repenting immediately, asking God to change my mood, then I can swallow my pride and apologise. I can become ‘happy’ in that moment after my remorse has rectified the mood. I have to remember that we women have the fabulous gift of being able to change our minds and I must decide to.

The conversation inside my head would be interesting to watch if it were an animated cartoon, a little inner angel and a little inner enemy going toe-to-toe, battling for the win. Regrettably, in my youth I know which one was usually more victorious. Thankfully finding humility and submission to God has empowered my little inner angel and it is not so little anymore. I love how, more often than not, God can simply help me change my mind and my mood. I just have to be willing to let Him.

This works in so many areas, if I don’t feel like cooking dinner, I can think of something special that will make my family smile and it changes my attitude about cooking for them. I can have my heart set on a night out and when plans change I could either pace the house in a bad mood searching for something to make up for it, or simply find comfort in a quiet night at home with my loved ones. I may not feel like meeting the advances from my man, yet if I try to change my mind, even for a second, I find the reasons against have disappeared.

I was talking with my Sister recently about how women seem to have the role of making changes in their relationships. Sometimes it seems unfair to hear about women who want their men to work on the relationship more, to attend counseling, or couple groups, or mostly simply just to talk about the relationship more. Some men rarely feel the urge to change anything, they find a way to be at peace with the situation, or if it gets beyond a joke they may eventually give up entirely.

Mostly I am grateful that good men are very tolerant of our ‘alien’ mood swings, I notice they rarely hold grudges, even if it may appear so, as they often stay quiet to ride out the storm. We need to show them that it is safe to interact with us again, by softening our mood, letting go of our anger and repenting for any possible harm our words may have caused them.

God in His wisdom designed us women the luxury of being able to change our minds easily, sometimes it can take a while, but sometimes it can be instantaneous. That is why it falls on us to make most of the changes in our relationships, have a happier spirit, and be more patient, attentive, supportive, aiming to meet the needs of our men, as God designed us to.

Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, she was meant to nurture, support, encourage and assist him, not take over, ear-bash and belittle him. We need to remember this when deciding which changes could be made to our relationships, or perhaps quite simply, our mind.

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