The Big Difference (K.Blais)

Image result for negatives becoming positive

Awful things happen to us or to the people we love and care about. Terrible things occur continuously in our daily lives. We make decisions which end up being disastrous, although they may have seemed like the best option at the time, and in other cases choices are made for us without our having any say in them at all. Sometimes we hold the power in the decision-making process, and other times we are completely powerless.

Through it all though we strive to stand up and not to sink. We do our best not to let the floods drown us or to pull us down into the depths of despair, even though they may threaten to.

It isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t always work for all of us.

It is essential to remind ourselves that eventually the waters will recede. It’s tricky to remember that sometimes though and, by no means, do we ever intend to make light of the terrible things that happen, but it remains extremely important to attempt to search for the positive amidst the negative.

Out of every horrendous situation is there always a positive to be found? Depending on individual perspectives the answers may vary: maybe, maybe not… and maybe not right away. But, if we search hard enough there is always a bit of light, a small glimmer of hope, a tiny piece of dry land that we can place our feet on, even if it’s just a tiptoe to start. Maybe sometimes the negative just requires a different perspective.

A very close person to me, my dear friend Tracy, has struggled with some health issues over the past couple of years. She one day found herself with mobility issues, needed surgery to repair her knee injury, had a health scare with a dangerous item on the job site, and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after that (all issues completely unrelated to one another). Add to that other issues which she has dealt with throughout her life, the scope of her tribulations was immense. To be perfectly honest, her world was bleak and dark and at some very low points. With so many negatives piling up on her, there were days when getting out of bed was too much for her to think about.

The floods threatened to close in on her on more than one occasion, but through it all she always searched for that tiny aspect of hope, that glimmer of light, that small piece of land on which she could attempt to stand. Her faith led her to the belief that her cancer was a blessing because having gone through what she had, she was able to be a support system to others battling with cancer. Her journey led her to new friendships which she may have otherwise not have made. Her struggles allowed her to realize the love that so many people had for her. The darkness has allowed her to appreciate the light all that much more. All the negatives that have happened to her have led to so many more positives in her life because she chose to see past them.

Some of us battle with physical or mental health issues, or have loved ones which are battling, which have affected our (and their) quality of life. Frustration, powerlessness, and a feeling of incompetency may overwhelm us. It can be hard to find the positive when we feel so awful. Sometimes we have to realize the negative for what it is. Sometimes we need to surf the waves when we cannot stop them.

Financially or materially we may be experiencing damage or loss. There may be days when our situation seems so bleak that there seems to be no place to go. It is hard to find the positive when the negatives are reflected in everything we have, even our bank accounts.

We may have lost a loved one or loved ones. We all know someone who has experienced the immense grief of losing a person very close to them. It’s extremely hard to see the positive in death and loss, especially when we are in mourning. Sometimes though death can bring us closer to those who remain in our lives. Sometimes death brings a new appreciation for all that we had and all that we have shared with that person, and it may encourage us to cherish and hold dear the time we have with the loved ones left with us. A belief that we will be reunited with our loved one one day can offer peace. Sometimes death can lead us back to life: to living each moment to the fullest and with a deeper appreciation, and may even lead us to taking nothing, even the little things, for granted.

Perhaps relationships have dissolved, friendships and partners have been lost, and life as we knew it has become an illusion. It is difficult to see the negative when everything around us in our personal life seems in a disarray. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things can fall apart so easily… and perhaps we neglect to see that sometimes things need to fall apart so better things can come together.

Being positive does not mean to ignore the negative. There is no need to put blinders on and pretend that the negative does not exist. Being positive, and living a life which chooses to focus on the positive, can simply mean to live by overcoming the negative. That’s the big difference.

Advertisements

Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

Image result for emotional wounds free pics

So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

words and dreams (K.Blais)

I had a dream the other night about someone really important to me. In waking, I was overcome with feeling melancholy and “saddish” (if that makes sense). While dreaming I was trying to convey how much I truly cared for this person, but my words seemed to have little effect. The individual in my dream seemed to be unfazed by my words which seemed so clear to me, and, it was indeed saddening. I woke up almost in tears and I carried that feeling of sadness with me throughout the entire day. 

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, vivid and clear dreams that often seem so real I could retell them as if I have actually lived them in real life. I’ve also noticed that my dreams of late have reflected my real life thoughts and feelings, even concerns which have boggled about in my mind throughout the day. 

I have a number of friends whom I care about very much that are going through difficult times with various issues in their lives. My heart goes out to them and my thoughts and prayers are always with them, but I also think how important it is to hug them when they need it and to tell them how I feel, and not just in my dreams. 

In real life, there are times when I worry that the people I care about don’t know how deeply I do care for them. While I always strive to use words full of meaning and to choose them wisely, I wonder sometimes if the words we say have enough value to make people truly believe them. Yes, actions do speak louder than words, but, as I’ve said before, words can be extremely important too. They are, afterall, one of our main forms of communicating with one another. 

Have words lost meaning? Have we used, reused, and overused them so much that others cannot find their intended value sincere? 

We are now submersed in the season of sharing peace, love, and joy. How do you intend to spread those things? Will you share more of yourself with others? Will you choose words that adequately and genuinely express how you feel about those in your life? Will you be more aware of the words you choose to use, how their meanings are interpreted, and how their interpretations might differ from your intentions? 

Will you speak and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, even if it means that you are one voice and are standing alone? 

This Christmas, and there beyond, will you choose your words to tell others how much you appreciate and love them? Will you make sure that your words have the meaning and value that you intend for them? 

Liar, Liar: Pinocchio’s Pants On Fire?! (K.Blais)

Lie (noun) – a deliberate untruth

A lie is a false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the whole truth, intentionally. (information courtesy of Wikipedia.org)

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, / When we first practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott,
Marmion, Canto vi, Stanza 17.)

I spent some time thinking about lies and lying this week. We, as humankind, lie. Some of us do it rarely, some of us dabble in it occasionally, and some of us make it a recurring habit. In general, most of us lie at some points in our lives, for differing and various reasons. A familiar childhood phrase would often run through my head as I researched and read up on this tricky blog topic – “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” I’ve sometimes wished that a liar’s pants really would catch on fire from time to time! It would be a lot easier to pick the liar out of the crowd that’s for sure.

I must also add that I am absolutely fascinated by the number of sub-categories or pseudonyms that one can find under the simple word ‘lie’ on Wikipedia.org. Don’t even get me started on the exciting psychology explaining it all! So, while I knew that writing a blog post on the topic of lying would be tricky, I didn’t realize how complexly interesting it would be as well.

There are many different classifications of the concept of lying ranging from the barefaced (or bald-faced) lie (an obviously lie to those hearing it) to a bluff (pretending to have the capacity or intention one does not normally possess) to bullshit (used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about a topic feigning total certainty or making probable predictions). There are many other ‘types’ of lies: big lie, bad faith, contextual lie, emergency lie, exaggeration, fib, half-truth, etc. Regardless of their name or exact definition, lies can be used to protect or promote oneself, to protect or damage others, and even to cover up more lies. Lies can also be used to hurt, betray, and punish others, and, sometimes, lies can even be used without any reasoning or explanation at all.

I revisited my childhood once again, still chanting “Liar, liar, pants on fire” in my head, and pulled out the children’s novel The Adventures in Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi. Pinocchio, a wooden puppet created by the woodcarver, Gepetto, always dreamed of becoming a real boy. He was also prone to telling lies and fabricating stories for various reasons. Because of Pinocchio’s tendency to lie, his character has often been used as a warning to young children not to lie or else their nose will grow like Pinocchio’s. (information from Wikipedia.org)

(image courtesy of Google images)

It is not only young children who lie, however. The embodiment of the character of Pinocchio is actually quite prevalent in present day society. The modern day Pinocchio often takes on differing forms in our complicated world.

We all may know a Compulsive Pinocchio, the liar who, when he starts to lie, lies out of habit and just can’t seem to stop. Perhaps he or she can’t help themselves – one lie leads to another and to another and to another, leading to the common metaphor of a “web of lies” and the “tangled web we weave” reference. Lying may be the normal, reflexive way for the Compulsive Pinocchio to respond to questions. It may be stress, panic, or even just a general disregard for being honest with others that leads a Compulsive Pinocchio to be dishonest with others, especially with him or herself, as telling the truth is very awkward for him or her. While the modern day Pinocchio doesn’t have the tell tale nose growing feature, it is sometimes difficult to discern his or her lies from truths.

Some modern day Pinocchios can be pathological liars, (with close similarities to the Compulsive Pinocchio); those who lie about almost every aspect of his or her life and believe the lies they tell, often in an effort to boost their self-esteem. The Pathological Pinocchio feels the need to lie about everything from how much was spent on dinner last night to the last time the dog was taken for a walk. For the Pathological Pinocchio, every segment of communication has “strategic meaning positioned for his or her gain”. (info with help from wikiHow.com) The Pathological Pinocchio is a hard individual to deal with. One is never certain which lie spoken is the closest to the truth. The modern day Pinocchio is a master of the skill of lying. He is able to lie so convincingly, so sweetly, so charmingly, that one cannot help but to believe him. He lies so well that he even believes his own lies.

There is also the Sociopath Pinocchio, someone who lies continuously to get their way with little or no concern for others. The Sociopath Pinocchio is goal-oriented with little respect to the rights and feelings of others. The Sociopath Pinocchio is often charming and charismatic as well, and uses his or her strong social skills in order to manipulate others self-centeredly. Sociopath Pinocchios lack empathy for others. They will lie and step on whoever they need to in order to get what they want. Modern day Sociopath Pinocchios can easily become involved in criminal actions and violence as well.

Regardless of the type or name of lie, or the version of the modern day Pinocchio we may encounter, it remains true that lying is often the easy part. It’s the detecting the lies, catching them, even seeing through them which is hard. But, there are some truths which we can hold onto when it comes to deception and lying: 1) People will never stop lying; deception will never end. 2) There is no sure-fire way to detect lies. Even lie detectors cannot completely acknowledge the diversity of lies. No one is right all the time about whether another person is lying. 3) Lying has and will continue to be a cultural lament throughout the ages.

My final thought – I don’t think all lies are bad. I’m not sure that I would really want to know how other people feel about me or them to know how I feel about them all of the time. I’m not sure that I would always want to know what other people really think of me in every situation I am in. There are lies which are reassuring (“Yes, you’re hair looks great even if you didn’t want it cut that short…”) and there are lies which are horrible and unjustifiable in any way, but I’m not sure that any of us are ready to embrace the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, always and forever. So I think we will just have to keep doing our best in using good judgment to detangle the webs that are woven, to accurately assess the Pinocchios who we encounter in our lives, and maybe, just maybe, one day my wish will come true and I will be around to see Pinocchio’s pants actually catching on fire.

(Researched from the following sources : thetruthaboutdeception.com, Wikipedia.org, and Google dictionary.)