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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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.

When Friendships Fail You

brokenfriendship

One of the most painful things that any person can go through in life is losing people they once cared about.  People that are still here on earth but for whatever reason have drifted away – either gradually over time, or suddenly through a disagreement or difference of opinion.

I’ve written in the past about toxic people in your lives, but what about the friend who you have shared every moment with since childhood.  The friend who got their license the same year you did.  The friend who graduated with you and bought matching cars together because you were best friends, for life.  What about the friend who has gone through numberous breakups, makeups … engagement, wedding and birth of your children.  Some of the emotions that follow these fall outs can be as intense as losing a loved one. 

The loss of a dear friend is one of the most painful things that anyone can encounter – unknown

Some friends grow apart because their lives become filled with other interests or move apart. The most painful broken relationship is the one that separates as a result of unresolved conflict.

Whatever the reason, friendships come and go in our lives. When the special friendships you thought would last a lifetime are broken or lost, the wounds may require loving care in order to heal.

Here are a few things you can do to see if you are still able to grow spiritually through the ins and outs of friendships over the years;

1. Grieve for the lost friendship. Grieving a lost relationship may take weeks, months or even years. A lot depends on how the friendship ends.

  • Admit the relationship has ended. Acceptance is the all-important positive side to rebuilding. You do not have to take on a load of guilt in order to accept that the relationship is over. Stay out of the “if only” game. The pain is intense as you realize the relationship has ended.
  • Suffer and grow. The way past the pain is to go all the way through it. The pain you are feeling is real. It hurts. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Use it as motivation to grow and make the crisis into an opportunity. The pain can be an excuse to remain bitter, angry, unhappy, or it can help you grow.

2. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. As you go through this painful process, check yourself so as to avoid these unhealthy coping mechanisms.

  • Withdrawing – Sometimes hurting people hide so others will not suspect their fear.
  • Becoming a busy-aholic – Hiding behind busyness may delay the healing process and can also be very tiring.
  • Fearing aloneness – Being alone can provide time for introspection, reflection, growth and development of the inner self. Emptiness can be replaced by inner fullness and strength. There is a healthy balance in spending time with others and being alone.

3. Let go

Close friendships require an interest in other people, empathy, loyalty and commitment. They also require the letting go of idealistic expectations and unrealistic demands. In letting go, we grow. Sometimes this may even require letting go of the friendship entirely.

  • Forgive. Forgiveness is an act of the will on the part of the offended person releasing the perpetrator even though you do not condone what they have done. Trust, however, needs to be earned. This is particularly important in dysfunctional relationships. If you are seeking inner freedom, forgiveness is not an option — you simply must. Forgiveness involves realizing how much the Lord has forgiven. It enables you to forgive and see others’ failures through the eyes of mercy. Good friends are good forgivers.
  • Deal with your emotions. Acknowledge the feelings of love, anger, bitterness, feelings of vindictiveness and look at them realistically. Invest emotionally in your own personal growth instead of investing in the dead relationship.

4. Risk loving again. Intimacy is risky, no doubt about it. Reaching out may result in rejection. Then why do it and get hurt? Why not play it safe? The cost is too high to not ever take the risk — there are friends in your future who will be worth the risk and you may never know them if you don’t try again.

  • Make yourself vulnerable. It is easy to fear rejection. If someone wants to share, but seems hesitant, lead the way by opening up first. It is a precious gift to your friends when they personally discover that you cherish confidentiality and hold their secrets close to your heart. Remember, vulnerability hastens bonding.
  • Realize the risk is worthwhile. As you reflect on the friends of your life, realize some were in your life for only a season. Each of your friends has woven into your being some of the very fiber of who you have become. Realize you may never know why some relationships end: Reflect on the positive blessings and the impact a friendship made on your life during the happy times. If the friendship was filled with betrayal and pain, reflect on the growth that took place in your own life as you learned to deal with this.

Realize that going through a broken relationship leaves you with a choice — to become bitter or better. Bitterness will only destroy you and never the person with whom you are angry. Which one will you choose?

  Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.   Buddha