4 Important Lessons You Learn Through Difficult Times, by MAURA HUGHES

While difficult times can feel like a deep dark hole that we can’t escape and we often wonder “Why is this happening to me?”, there is a silver lining to tough times. It’s through the difficult times in our life, that we are able to grow. It’s when we are tested that we are able to rise, push through and come out the other side stronger, braver and bet

No one wants to struggle. No one wants to even admit their struggling. We all want to have Photoshopped versions of our own lives that fit perfectly into an Instagram square. But life does not work like that. Every one of us will be faced with a variety of tough times in their life. It is one of the few things we can really count on.

The truth is, there are some important lessons in life that we are only taught through difficult times and they can become the silver lining to the darkness.

1. Who your real friends are.

It’s an unfortunate and often time brutal truth to learn that someone we once thought would be there no matter can’t be counted on. Difficult times have a unique way of trimming off the fat in our lives. If someone does not truly care, they will not make the effort to be there. End of story. The realization that someone you love doesn’t make you a priority can knock you off your feet but it will save you time and energy that would have been spent trying to be there for them in the future. Eventually, you will learn who really matters, you will be grateful for them and you will have cleared out some emotional space for someone who will be there for you, through thick and thin.

2. The depth of your strength.

“It builds character,” was my mom’s favorite response to any complaint I had growing up. As annoying as that line was, it is true. Nothing builds our strength like surviving difficulty. Nothing forces us to leverage what we have, dig deep and come up with every ounce of integrity, patience and strength like a hard time. When you survive something, your internal scoreboard registers it. Imagine as if your internal synapses are pushing an extra win into your win/loss column and the next time you go into battle, your will take an inventory of what your winning record is and bulk up your confidence that you can survive and thrive, no matter what you are facing.

3. What really matters in life. 

Difficult times tend to turn our worlds upside down and anything that is nailed down to the floor will go flying. Sometimes it’s comforting to know what actually does stick, what is still hanging in there after the world goes awry. Because when we’re right side up again, we’ll be able to look a little more closely at those things, take a bit better care of them and love them even more for being unmovable. Most of us spend most of our days worrying about everything but what we should be worrying about. But after a difficult time, we’re less likely to worry as much about the little things and focusing on those unmovable pieces in our life that really matter.

4. How to be grateful. 

Difficult times leave us with a lasting impression. They alter us and change the way we view our lives. We have learned who and what matters in our life and undoubtedly we have a greater appreciation for them. Surviving hardship gives us a broader perspective on what hardship really is. You will look back on the things you use to complain about and be thankful they are your only worries. After we have survived a difficult time, we are given a deep gratitude for our life.

Difficult times will happen. To find the light, we have to go through the darkness and while you’re in the midst of it, try to take a deep breath and remember that the lessons you are learning will shift your view of life. You will learn what matters, who matters, how strong you are and how lucky you are to exist. That’s what difficult times teach us and they are some of the most important lessons we can ever learn.

Original Post; http://www.purposefairy.com/80874/4-important-lessons-you-learn-through-difficult-times/

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Good Riddance; Letting Go and Moving Forward

With each year, as we approach the closing of the year, we begin to reflect on life reminiscing about the past years adventure, contemplating the things that we had hoped to experience, or move away from.  Every year is the same story – we have 365 days to try to get it right.  Some of us go full force with guns blazing, and others of us get sidetracked, or simply give up.  Unsuccessful, you learn to accept that some challenges were not met head on, and prioritize them into your current set of goals in the new year to come.

Every year I have the intention to work on “me” – convincing myself to let go of things that hurt or caused me to feel in a negative manner, and figure out better, more cathartic methods, of trying to overcome obstacles in my life.

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The past few years have been devoted to learning how to balance family, friends, and my career.  It has not been easy.  Each day I work through how to put 150% effort into each of these really important things in my life … there never seems to be a cut and dry answer, and sadly when I do have days when I feel like life is feeling balanced, and my efforts are evenly distributed amongst my family, friends, and career, I find that the one thing I do forget about is myself.

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My goals for the past year included finding a job that I dreamed of – being in an environment that I not only loved, but felt comfortable, challenged, and motivated.  I wanted a job I was passionate about, and not just a job that I would “settle” at.  

My family goals were to be a better mother, and wife – which, I am still not sure exactly what that means.  Does that mean I smile more so than not? or am I just never grumpy, or bitchy towards my husband? 

My friends goal was to weed out the manipulative, negative, and hurtful persons, and get closer to the ones that I felt had a more authentic, genuine, and loyal persona.  The biggest challenge over the past two years  was being disappointed in people’s expectations of me, and individuals lack of loyalty and respect towards the friendships that I shared with them.  I am sensitivite to things that are said to me, or behind my back.  I am an emotional being, as most of us are, and have let things take effect on me far more than they ever had the right to be in my world.  Slowly I am learning that i’ve kept far too many negative people in my life for much longer than they should have ever been there for.  It wasn’t “them” that was doing something to me, it was “me” allowing these individuals the “right” to be in my world.  Unlearning the rule of “be nice to everyone” was difficult because I felt that it was going against all of what I knew to be “right” – what God taught, what elders preached.

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Did I get it right last year?  when I sit here and write out my view on where I started, and ended in 2015 I feel like there was a progression.  But do I feel 100% satisfied?  No.  I think that goals are great, and working on creating a better, positive, and more fulfilling life, in general, is a healthy thing to desire.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.  It is not selfish when you want the best version of your life – creating this will make you a better person in return.  There is always room for improvement, and that is one of the beautiful things about this life – we have the right to create our own choices – our own path, and our own destination.

Each year we have the chance to start over again, to move forward from the hurt, the lessons, the challenges, and try to do it right. Celebrate the accomplishments you made this year, and reevaluate where you would want to be a year from now.  Hold yourself accountable for what you want in your life, and make it happen.  In a few days you will be able to close the door on this chapter, and move forward into the next.  What you choose to bring with you is up to you – take life lightly, love with all of your will, and remember to make yourself a priority in 2016 xo

2016 New Year celebration display with the date outlined with fiery sparklers in green and blue on a black background

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation; A wonderful read by Paula Lenda

feature_image_template28-620x400By Paul Lenda

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

We as human beings have a very strong self-centered aspect (even if it may not be truly ‘real’) of our beings called the ego, and many problems arise when this aspect of the human experience goes uncontrolled. Manipulation has always been a favored tool of the ego in order to get what it wants.

This manipulation can come in either a physical form or it can be seen to work on the emotional level in order to break the psyche into meeting the manipulator’s desires. Properly identifying the ways in which people emotionally manipulate others can save us much suffering in the future when identified early enough.

By protecting ourselves from being manipulated on the emotional level, we are able to free ourselves once and for all from the violation of our universal right of free will. Just as we can shift our consciousness from the state of fear which is often imposed on us by emotional manipulators, we can shift away from any debilitating mind state. The following will be a detailed list of signs to look for in people that are trying to emotionally manipulate others and how to defend against these sinister tactics.

Identifying Emotional Manipulation

You make a statement that is turned around to be used against you in a negative way.
The person will speak with an air of honesty that is in fact a cover for their true intentions. An example would be that you would tell this person something like, “I am really angry that you forgot my birthday.” Their response would be that “it makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment, but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (by this point, persuasive tears may begin to appear in order to give more credence to this manipulation tactic being used) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry.”

Your intuition may sense that this elaborate apology is not genuine. However, since they said the magic words, you are essentially left with nothing more to say or you will find yourself trying to control their fake anger. When this scenario plays out, do not accept an apology that is as real as their true intentions. If you do accept the apology, you have just been emotionally manipulated! If it does not feel genuine, it probably is not. Do not allow yourself to me emotionally blackmailed because if you do that one time, the emotional manipulator will see that it can be used as a successful method of getting what he or she desires.

The person presents his or herself as a willing helper.
A person that acts as an emotional manipulator plays the part of someone who is willing to help out with any given task. If you ask for their help with something, he or she will be more than willing to agree. If you did not ask for their help, he or she will volunteer to help with any given task. Seeing an offer for help looks like a wonderful thing, but in the mind of an emotional manipulator, this is merely a tactical move in order to fulfill a selfish desire he or she has. If you accept their offer to help, he or she will express their unwillingness to help by letting out several sighs that are loud enough for you to notice, or some other non-verbal signs that let you know they actually do not want to help you with whatever it was they offered to help with.

You will notice this and tell them that it does not seem as if they actually want to help, and this is when he or she begin their main manipulation efforts. He or she will show their great will to help you and that you are being unreasonable. In order to bypass this manipulation, ignore the fake sighs and subtle cues that he or she is unwilling to help. You can also confront the individual directly and deliver an ultimatum (albeit in a civil manner).

They say something but later assure you that they did not say it at all.
This is one tactic that you can see being used in many aspects of society, perhaps the political sphere being the greatest user of this. If you constantly feel like there may be something wrong with your memory recall because you remember one thing and the emotional manipulator “remembers” another, then be cautious. Those who have mastered the “art” of emotional manipulation are experts in justifying their actions, turning things around against you, and rationalizing situations.

It is as if they have graduated The University of Lying and are incredibly skilled in passing off even the most ridiculous lie without giving any hints that he or she is being deceitful. They can be expert persuaders to the point that you begin to question your own memories and sanity. To combat this technique by the emotional manipulator, keeping a log of what he or she says is a good start to having definitive proof that he or she is lying right in your face. It does not matter how you go about doing this. It can be in the form of having another person with you when the manipulator is saying whatever it is they are saying, writing it down, recording it, etc.

They put you in a guilt trip.
Emotional manipulators are experts in the craft of guilt-tripping. They have the ability to make you feel guilty either for not speaking up, for speaking up, for not showing enough emotion, for showing too much emotion, for not giving and/or caring enough, and for giving and/or caring too much. There are no lines that the emotional manipulator will not cross in order to put you in a guilt trip. This person will very rarely exhibit any real needs or desires he or she has. Instead, emotional manipulation is the game they play in order to get these needs and desires satisfied. Combined with guilt, sympathy is a very powerful tool to manipulate your emotions.

The emotional manipulator is excellent at playing the victim. They stir up your will to support, care, and nurture them. These individuals very rarely do their own dirty work, so to speak. They are able to make you do it for them and when you do (through indirect means) they will say that they never expected or wanted you to do anything at all. Do not worry, you are not losing your sanity! Make it abundantly clear to them that you are not going to do their dirty work, which can be said by saying “I am fully confident in your ability to work this out on your own.”

They are indirect.
By taking the passive-aggressive route, emotional manipulators are able to deal with things indirectly. Actions in this category include talking behind your back, getting others to say to you what they would not say themselves, and finding subtle ways of letting you know they are unhappy. They will tell you things that you want to hear, but then do something to undermine that. An example of this would be if the manipulator says that “of course I want you to go back to school baby and you know I will always support you.” Fast forward to a night where you are either studying for an exam or perhaps finishing a project for work and your children (if you have some, that is) are throwing temper tantrums, the television’s volume is set really high, and your pets need taking care of – all the while “honey” is sitting on the couch looking at you blankly.

If you were to call them out on this, they will likely say something like “well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam or have to finish a project for work can you dear?” This is a difficult one to deal with, and if an emotional manipulator pulls this one, the choices for response are very limited…even as much that I do not have an adequate method to combat this besides getting this person out of your life.

They always seem to have it worse than you.
This tactic is pretty straight-forward. No matter what problems you may have in your life, the emotional manipulator always has problems worse than you. They shift focus from your problems to their supposed problems (which almost never exist in the way they claim they do).

If you sense that they are not being genuine and are just trying to shift the focus of the conversation on themselves in order to satisfy an egoistic desire, they will display feelings of being deeply hurt and will call you selfish. Yes, they will call you selfish, when in reality it is they who are selfish. Every day is Opposite Day for this emotional manipulator. It is difficult to combat this, because it is difficult to prove that you are not trying to be in the spotlight, so to speak. However, a clear and effective solution is to simply trust your intuition on their genuineness and walk away.

They are able to lower the positive energy of others around them.
Given the interconnected nature of human consciousness, everyone affects everyone else. This reality is able to both benefit and hurt us. If an emotional manipulator is in a room with others who are feeling fairly content and positive, the manipulators’ low level of consciousness will negatively impact all the others around his or herself. If they are angry or sad, others will begin to feel these emotions creep up into their consciousness and bring them down.

The instinctual result of this is that others will try to bring the energy level back up by trying to make the emotional manipulator feel better. By staying around such a person for a long period of time, you will find yourself exhausted with always trying to bring them back up to the positive end of the emotional spectrum and become burnt out.

They have no sense of accountability.
Emotional manipulators do not take responsibility for their own actions. They always turn around a situation to see what others have done to them. An easy way to identify an emotional manipulator using this tactic is to see if he or she attempts to establish intimacy via the early sharing of what is considered very personal information that is the kind that makes you feel sorry for them.

You may at first feel that this individual is very sensitive, emotionally open, and perhaps even a little vulnerable. This is precisely how they want you to perceive their actions. Emotional manipulators have emboldened their ego to such great heights that they practically never feel vulnerable. The best way to combat this tactic is to identify it early on and cease giving these individuals an audience.

Free Yourself
Every one of us is bound to come across an emotional manipulator sooner or later. By understanding how they operate and what tactics they use on others, we can be well prepared for their attempts at using us for their own egoistic desires and can prevent much pain, sometimes even a lifetime’s worth. Spread awareness to others by educating them on emotional manipulation and with our collective efforts, we will no longer fall for their tricks.

This Life Of Mine: Death Of The Drama Queen

Even in the most peaceful surrounds, the angry heart finds quarrel.  Even in the most quarrelsome surrounds, the grateful heart finds peace ~ Doe Zantamata

Ugh!  Nothing drives me more insane than the ranting and raving of the “queens” in my life.  When I say “queen” I am referring to both men, and women alike because they share a common trait – making mountains out of mole hills.

There is nothing in this world that I can think of that is more emotionally exhausting than the simple chatter of a drama ridden individual.  Literally, these conversations leave me feeling dull, negative and just plain “off” for days upon days following their outbursts.

It seems that the more I try to avoid it, the more it finds me, or the more I am aware of it in my day-to-day surroundings.  When I take a look at why that is it seems to be that drama is in all of us … some of us just know how to internalize and throw away the key before we spread the nasty germs on to the next person draining them of their abundantly joyful days.

It’s everywhere.  The friends who are traumatized over another friends actions.  The mother in law who is completely sensitive to a daughter in laws honesty.  The girlfriend of a friend who is just to blind to see her constant attention seeking behaviours.  The list is never-ending.  But when you look at the commonality in all of the situations what is it that is the core problem with these people?  Is it that they are unhappy?  Is it that they just seek attention? 

I’ve spent many hours in the past trying to console the “broken-hearted”.  Trying to help them understand from another perspective.  Guide them to be a little empathetic as most situations are usually caused by sensitive personalities and misunderstandings.  A lot of these drama episodes could be avoided with clear communication and honesty, and perhaps in some situations toning it down a little as not all of us on the receiving end of conflict are graciously accepting in every circumstance.

Even though we try to see the bright side of everyone’s personality I am left with the conclusion that people who cause drama are fairly dissatisfied with their lives.  They may appear happy on the outside, but I think that the root of their problems is that they are genuinely unhappy with themselves and their day-to-day lives.

There are definitely situations in life that will feel confrontational because we are all built with different personalities and character but is it really necessary to make a mountain out of a molehill?  Must we make each others lives so stressful to the point of tears, sleepless nights, ill feelings and broken friendships?

This all leads back to one of my very first posts about identifying the toxic people in your lives.  I know in the grand scheme of things it may feel like you are getting rid of everyone around you but what needs to be put in perspective is your own quality of life.  The remaining years you have left on this earth are limited – how do you wish to spend them?  I’ve always told my friends in dire situations, ‘Everyday that you wake up is one day closer to the day you will die.  Is this how you want to live.  Can you honestly tell me that you are living your happily ever after ?

If the answer is no, then I strongly recommend you reevaluate the path you are taking because the journey in life should be as enjoyable as a beautiful road trip.  Yes, there will be windy roads that will be less than pleasurable to travel,  but the beautiful landscape, quaint towns, and gorgeous oceans make the trip all worth while!  Afterall, you are the only one who has complete power of your life and destination!

7 Crucial Steps to Minimize Drama

1. Recognize when you might be creating drama.

You get what you put out. If you act in a way that is positive and minimal drama, you attract the same kind of positive situations and people. ~April Myers

Drama usually comes from my reaction to other people’s actions. I stop to think: Does this really matter in the long run, or am I just trying to be right? ~Anita Grimm-Hohl

I minimize drama within myself. When I’m focused and calm, so is the world around me. ~Cynthia Ruprecht Hunt

 If there’s drama in multiple areas of your life, be honest with yourself—you’re the constant. Are you creating it? We don’t do anything repeatedly unless there’s something in it for us, so, what’s the payoff?

Are you looking for attention or excitement? Did you grow up with drama and you just plain feel best when there’s some around you?

Now aim to find alternative solutions. If you’re looking for attention, can you get it more directly? If you’re bored, what new adventure can create in your life?

2. Change your perspective.

Be happy about little things, let the big stuff go because I can’t change any of it. ~Grace Foo

I zoom out in my mind to a point far enough away and above so that I can see things in my life for what they are. By doing this, I can see from a distance how small and unimportant the situation is in the big scope of the universe. ~Larry Stilts

Is this situation going to matter a year from now? If not, it’s not worth worrying about. ~Angela Orr

A lot of the drama takes place in our own heads, and it’s usually because we’re too deeply immersed in a difficult situation to recognize it isn’t as dire as it seems.

If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by a situation, step back and realize this feeling isn’t permanent—nothing is. Then focus on action steps—on the things that you can control. What can you do today to proactively create a solution?

3. Don’t feed into other people’s drama.

Build a reputation for not participating in drama. ~Addy Rodriguez

Just be. Anything you resist persists. Don’t add any negative or positive focus on it. ~Nikki Star

Speak less, listen more. You have time to hear and see the drama and sidestep it. ~Alexis Benjamin‎

Be an observer. Not everything needs a reaction. ~Angelina PhouGui Chan-Ong

If someone repeatedly comes to you with catastrophes, give yourself a window of time when you’ll listen, and then take care of your own needs by walking away. Also, resist the urge to jump into a pity party. Oftentimes people calm themselves down when other people don’t validate their complaints.

Lastly, focus on your breath. Your calming energy may even help them let go.

4. Reconsider unhealthy relationships.

Minimize dramatic people in your life. ~Jeff Palmer

Befriend only people with good energy that don’t promote or create drama. ~Carmen Portela

I realize that spending time by myself is always preferable to spending time with someone who wants drama. Nothing wrong with a dull day. ~Stephanie Goddard

Remove the source of drama from my life. It really is that simple. ~Claudia Jacobs

Take an inventory of which people in your life leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. If you don’t want to completely remove a toxic relationship, minimize the time you spend together.

If you don’t want to change how often you see each other, recognize drama triggers. When the conversation moves toward her horrible mother, steer it somewhere else.

5. Be clear and straight with other people.

Be as open and honest and communicative as possible. Listen without reacting. ~Faith McGregor

If I have an issue with someone I go straight to them to talk about it, and I don’t talk to anyone else about it if they aren’t involved. Gossip breeds drama! ~Kristie Sherman

Drama comes about because of either misunderstanding or overreaction. Be as honest and open in all cases as possible. Quell your own negative emotions, which will in turn diffuse the negative emotions of others. ~Vito Ruiz

A lot of drama comes from poor communication and confusion. Eliminate it by finding the courage to say exactly what you mean. It may be harder in the moment, but it can save a lot of heartache in the long run.

On the flip side, let people know that they can be honest with you. If someone thinks they need to walk on eggshells around you, they’ll likely hold things in—but they will come out eventually, if not in words, in resentful actions.

6. Be slow to label something as “drama.”

When it comes to people you know you love, always take an extra moment to reconsider, if the “problem” is actually a problem, if it’s worth making a big deal out of it. ~Christian Andersen Hauge

I realize that life is a roller-coaster and my problems are much like others’ at different times. ~Margaret I. Gibson

Love them a little more. It’s who they are. It might even be you. ~Ed Pulsifer

Don’t speculate, good or bad. Simply deal with what’s actually in front of you. ~Michael Stodola

Sometimes what we’re labeling as drama is just someone who really needs us. Instead of expelling mental energy judging the situation as good or bad, focus on being there and being a friend in the moment.

Then be a friend to yourself and let the drama go when you walk away.  A lot of the drama we experience in life comes from our interpretations of the things we experience—particularly after the moments have passed.

7. Learn from drama.

I attempt to allow the inevitable episode, extract any potential meaning or lesson, and equally allow it to pass. ~Joel Olmstead

I try to see the learning experience in the drama. And I think of the sentence “Without rain you can’t enjoy the sunny days.” ~Anja Feijen

Accept it, learn from it, and go on with life. ~Vincent Neerings

Sometimes it seems like drama happens to us, and we’re powerless to remove ourselves from the cause. Another perspective is that every time we find ourselves immersed in something that seems overwhelming, we have an opportunity to learn how to deal with challenges better.

Life will always involve mini fires that we feel desperate to put out. If we can learn not to fan them, they may actually be able to light our way ~ tiny buddha.