maanantai 24. elokuuta 2015

Day 653 - Taking my own conflicts for what they are

Learning from extreme manifestations of everyday phenomenon
is not "far fetched" but a good way to cross-reference.

I read some of the thoughts of James Gilligan, and the pattern of my own conflict and aggression started to make much more sense. He has published a series of books on violence where he draws upon his long career in the American prison system. He is currently the director of mental health for the Massachusetts prison system.  

He said that in the current world stakes are high. What is meant by this is that we've left the "safety" and predictability of a caste society far behind and we are now responsible for our own destinies, for better or worse and even though we don't always have the means to do so. One's social status and standing determines how much access one is given to consumption and different social circles. We think that the "height one climbs on the social ladder" is the result of one's personal abilities and thus if you are "high up on the scale" you must be a great person and vice versa. We thus either get a life of value or a life made of shit-cakes "according to our own personal abilities" (quoted because it is not always so), and we communicate our value to our surroundings through external marks of success and judge others via these same external characteristics. With males especially status is important due to evolutionary reasons (in layman's terms because of how women and men choose partners for sex and reproduction).

Everyone is the "main character" of their own lives, everyone needs to feel like they matter and no one likes to define themselves as worthless scum. When we then face situations where we "hopelessly or helplessly" end up appearing inferior, we react. More so if our life is something where most, if not all, opportunities are one's that we didn't have access to. Conflict and aggression then becomes an attempt to reclaim one's own sense of social standing -- to rectify humiliation or feeling threatened.

I have plenty of opportunities so I cannot say in any way that the world has forced my back against the wall, but I see that I still live out the same pattern to some degree. The fear of humiliation and loss of status is within me, and situations where I feel powerless are especially potential in triggering reactions within me. This means that when I feel humiliated or threatened (for example fear that I loose status), I go to conflict/aggression to rectify the humiliation/threat -- it is an attempt to restore the perceived control that I have over how I am perceived by others (and thus over my own self-value). Yet if my self-value is dependent on how I perceive others to see me, I am not giving it to myself -- meaning that my self-value is not real, but only existent when I keep the feedback necessary to keep my uncertainties at bay. This is the core of the issue.

I commit myself to explore the moments where I feel humiliated and/or threatened to see, realize and understand what is the consequence for the threat/humiliation that I try to avoid and how I try to rectify these situations. In this, I commit myself to face the image that I try to play out to others to "save face", as well as the world-view to which this image apparently fits in. I also commit myself to challenge these perceptions practically by seeking new ways to act when I feel threatened or humiliated, starting from simply stopping the experience and breathing through the situation.

Also, and more importantly, I commit myself to explore the word "self-worth" trying to find out what is the living application of it = how do I live the word "self-worth"? In this, I commit myself to face the way I've made myself dependent on people, events and circumstances and embark of the journey to cut each tie until I stand self-directed and as myself regardless of people, events or circumstances. I commit myself to do this within the realization that cutting a tie of dependency does not mean that I deprive myself of something, but that I am NO LONGER DEPENDENT ON IT!

Can't wait to see what opens up!

torstai 20. elokuuta 2015

Day 652 - Taking conflicts for what they are

I've noticed from myself that when I am going through the motions, I am the most unstable. In retrospect it is this experience -- when I am having trouble handling my emotions/situation -- that I've had most of my conflicts within. These troubles are more often than not different from whatever triggered the conflict. Yet, I fight as if the trigger was the issue. It is here that I understood that conflicts are very rarely about the situation (or "trigger") at hand, and more often about the underlying problems that I go through. I would be quite surprised if it was otherwise for others.

This realization makes the claim that the conflicts that people have are quite often about something else than what is being said in the conflict by words. People live their lives and we cannot really choose at which point -- at which state of mind -- we face them. Thereby most conflict is actually much less personal than perceived and much more about "timing". Even though these conflicts are very often made personal.

Looking back at my own conflicts, there usually was something else that was bothering me at the time that then"erupted" onto another person for some stupid reason. The main cause was my own bother, not the "trigger point" for the conflict. In some more unfortunate occasions the bother was something that I wanted to suppress so badly that instead of going back and seeing what happened, I held on the conflict and the blame to not have to look at my shit. This has damaged my relationships each and every time. Through this I've realized why I must seek a way out of the problem instead of lashing out of the problem.

One might make the claim however that there is a different kind of conflict still. This is when someone does something "unforgivable" to you or your loved ones. It is these absolute moral sore spots like murder, rape, adultery and theft that can provoke such conflicts between people with the idea that it is absolutely justified. I am not going to argue that these events do not cause traumas, almost each and every time, but I acknowledge that they are at times immense journeys to walk through. What I have come to realize however is that even in the case of something so severe as rape, the rapist was a long journey that culminated into the acts when it had no other choice (assuming that a person who would have known better wouldn't have gone there). Again the question was about the timing of who happened to be around when that time bomb went off. If we've indeed become a society where such time bombs exist in abundance, the right course of action is to seek a way to defuse the current bombs and to cease their production; NOT to remain bitter at the remains of a person who went through such a hell.

So, for now I:

I commit myself to take conflict for what it (in all likelihood) is: people going through the motions.

If I can, I commit myself to help. If I can't, I Commit myself to NOT take the conflict personally.

When and as I am within a conflict, I commit myself to NOT participate in the fighting and to stay stable within and as breath instead. I commit myself to direct the situation (or back off from it if direction is impossible) from this stable starting point of breathing, instead of playing rage ping pong with meaningless disagreements.

...And all of this is easier said than done, but even the most difficult changes can be done with baby steps...

Oh, and this is an important one: I Commit myself to cut "toxic people" from my life*, but in this I Commit myself to apply the utmost humility and patience when I make the judgment call.

*:these are a different kind of sources of conflict. Toxicity, as I define it, is a person in trouble but who has given up within their situation so completely that instead of seeking a way out, they seek ways to lash out. Without the inner drive to fix things, there is nothing anyone can do. And given the amount of conflict I've seen to come out of this stage a person can be in, I'd rather save myself the trouble and avoid it.

lauantai 15. elokuuta 2015

Day 651 - Facing conflict? Just give it time.

The conflict that I had with someone close to me that I wrote about in my previous post resolved quite well. When it initially began I took distance immediately while clearly stating that "we need to calm down and then talk". I won't go into details, but this time was well spent. Before I wouldn't have given the time because I would have been too anxious to solve the situation. This type of approach has lead to rash decisions and emotional ultimatums. All of them were averted this time. Here I had a look at my relationship to conflict.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear conflict because it is unpleasant to fight with other people.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear conflict because I fear that people won't forgive and grudges are held for lengthy periods of time -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear that the single conflict will have further consequences "down the road".

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear that these matters are out of my reach; that I cannot direct conflict; that no matter what I do a conflict must be lived out if it occurs.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear conflict because I've seen conflict to change how people behave with each other -- in this, i forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear that my relationships are damaged by conflict.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to fear conflict as something that I cannot direct or resolve.

Now looking at how the previous "bigger conflict" I had resolved:

When I face conflict, I Commit myself to stop, to breathe and to realize that if people are emotional, the emotions must be allowed to die down before anything constructive can be done. I Commit myself to thereby give the conflict time, I commit myself to use this time to see what I did and I Commit myself to NOT re-spark my emotions by backchatting about what happened (mainly trying to prove myself right). I commit myself to make sure on my part that when I meet this individual again and I've faced what I did and that I stand clear with it. I Commit myself to make the decision on how to continue from a stable starting point and not from the heat of the moment.

perjantai 7. elokuuta 2015

Day 650 - From control to adaptation

Alright, I've gone through quite a lot with the blame/judgment point. If I simplify the pattern I first judge, then I react and, once I feel uncomfortable enough within my reactions, I blame and when the blame accumulates I allow my reactions to "erupt" and "rant themselves out" towards whatever/whoever I blame.

I judge in an attempt to find out what is efficient or what is the way that things "should be". I dug into why this was, and it is an outflow of how I interpreted certain events in my childhood. In short the people around me bottled up a lot of things in an attempt to "not bother others". This lead to the points coming out when they could no longer be held in, and thus the worries erupted through meaningless things -- for example "Why didn't you take out trash!" and "I asked you to clean that up a million times!". I interpreted that things really have to be perfect or otherwise people would react.

I focused on my thoughts for a few days and I realized that I am doing the same thing: I have some underlying problem that is bothering me, I suppress it, become judgmental and, once I feel horrible enough, I go to blame that then gives the experience a way to erupt on another. I did this investigation during a rafting trip that I had with a few good friends and I realized that each and every time I go to judgment and blame I also face a situation where what I do is not in synch with what other people are doing. In this, instead of adapting to the situation around me, I go into judgment and blame because "things don't go my way". I've defined this "my way" as "how things should be" and I do not see that it is just "my point of view". Here I allow myself to react and I find my reactions justified (because it is "how things should be"), and I hide what is really bothering me beneath the "justified reactions". In this I do not face myself and thus I can only have my troubles accumulate and lead into situations that affect my life to a great degree. What a loop.

When I got home I followed myself for a day stopping all thoughts that judge or blame. In the morning I stopped smaller points of judgment and blame about things that I had forgotten to clean up and plans that didn't come to pass (such as the time I wanted to wake up). Stopping these thoughts made a real difference in how I experienced myself during my day. I also realized that I did my judgment and blame with "the voice" that I have been judged and blamed with in my past -- sort of a composite of my parents, friends, educators, bullies and so on...

Later that day I faced quite a big conflict with someone close to me. Without the accumulated reactions this conflict felt completely different. I was stable enough to place myself in the shoes of the other and to not take what they were going through personally. The conflict has not completely resolved yet, but this time around my reactions didn't make the conflict into something "real" to "react about". In this I realized that I will always face challenges in life, but it is only if allow the smaller thoughts of judgment and blame to accumulate that will make me treat those challenges as "proof" that life is indeed what my reactions make it out to be -- difficult, straining, people are assholes and so on. This is how my accepted and allowed reactions become a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. And to be honest, I would like to be the one who is behind the wheel, not my reactions.

I commit myself to keep on stopping my thoughts of judgment and blame and to see how that can support me to deal with what life throws my way. I commit myself to do this consistently so that I can in fact see how this "new direction" will influence my life and how it unfolds. And in this, I commit myself to break my pattern of "wanting everything to be perfect" (because I fear the reactions of others) and to assist and support myself to learn how to adapt to things and to NOT take what other people go through personally.

tiistai 28. heinäkuuta 2015

Day 649 - My life of blame

I touched an interesting concept in my previous blog: I go into stories where my situation is not my own fault but enforced upon me by those that I blame. The thing behind this point -- what I hide in the blame -- is that I didn't realize my own power and my own responsibility.

Now with the responsibility -- that is to say response-ability or more commonly "power", even though it is not -- the equation of my life looks different. I realize that there is in fact a lot of things that I can do if I see that my life is completely in my hands (by taking into account time -- can't? learn!).

I realize that my life thus far has much been about what I thought I had to do "with the options that I was given" (which was a statement I made without knowing how things work and what I could exactly do). When I look at what has brought me to the actions I've taken there are a lot of fears and constrictions, a lot of "I can't say that" and "I can't do this". It is like a web of rules that I fear to bring conflict into my life if broken.

This has to stop. I have but one life to give and I Don't want to realize on my death bed that no choice that I made was in fact my own. I want to express myself without the fear of who I'll be in the eyes of others. I don't want to succumb to injustice or ignorance because I fear to defend my convictions. I don't want to refrain from understanding my world because I fear that I am not enough to see what is around me. Then and only then will I live the life that is in fact me, not when I am holding back. And I want to find an outcome from this that sees the world as a single community, none of that consumerism-über-individualism bullshit.

I commit myself to live my own life without the limitations briefly described here. I realize that this will be a process since I'll have to face that "web of rules" string by string and to redirect it point by point. I thus commit myself to embrace this journey as an adventure the likes I couldn't even dream myself to have. And I commit myself to realize that it will need humility because it won't be easy...

But I realize that it is the only worth while thing to do.

Day 648 - Defusing some blame

Blaming something or someone is an act where I deny responsibility. Granted sometimes the responsibility isn't entirely mine when things go wrong but if I hold on to that blame I won't look at the situation to see what I could have done differently.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to basically define that there is two types of work: one where you follow orders and one where you give orders.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define a job where you take orders to be one where you do not necessarily have to carry  responsibility for the outcome (if the order cannot achieve the desired results, then it is not the fault of the one who carried out the order that the desired end result was not reached).

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define a job where you give orders to be one where you are responsible to make sure that the order you give will bring about the desired results.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to basically define two ways to solve a problem: 1) trying to prove yourself right; and 2) trying to prove yourself wrong (different from self-doubt and self-judgment).

I Forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define a person who solves problems by trying to prove themselves right to be someone who tries to be satisfied with an answer as soon as possible without really putting the answer in the test to make sure that all points are considered.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define a person who solves problems by trying to prove themselves wrong as someone who is satisfied with an answer after no questions remain, no matter how big or small.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define a person who solves problems by trying to prove themselves wrong as better than those who try to prove themselves right -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to NOT differentiate between the person and the method, and that I've accepted and allowed myself to not realize that all people in good health are capable of learning each method.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define my boss as a person who gives orders and who is thus responsible to make sure that those orders bring about the desired result -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to define my boss as an inferior person not deserving his position or the rewards that come with it because he utilizes a problem solving method not fitting for his position -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to react to this by experiencing the situation where I do the job of my boss for me as "unjust", and that through this reaction I accepted and allowed myself to feel that if I succeed in my job and my boss succeeds with it, it will be unjust.

I Forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to judge my boss as irresponsible, short sighted and ignorant because he did not make sure whether or not his orders brought about the desired result -- in this, I Forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to start blaming my boss for causing harm by being in the wrong position when taking into account his ability -- I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to judge my boss to be well aware of his inability to handle his position and that he does it anyway because of greed -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to judge my boss to deliberately put others in a tough position (due to the low quality of his work) because of greed.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to judge my boss as self-centered and greedy because he took so much out of the company without giving back equally.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to judge my boss as incompetent because the company was established wrong (deadlines were given to things that shouldn't have deadlines = the company started to move when only the idea existed without preparing the first actual opportunity to implement that idea first).

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to justify my judgement towards my boss because the law defines the position of a CEO as one where there are many things that he/she is responsible for event though he/she wouldn't know about them (incompetence is outlawed).

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to hate my boss for trying to hide his mistakes when I showed them to him because he did no attempt to correct them afterwards, and that I've accepted and allowed myself to define his behavior as deliberate exploitation of others because he did no attempt to fix them.

I Forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to force my boss to change because I wanted the company to work, because I wanted a good pay, because I wanted to do green tech and because I wanted the status that the job brought me -- in this, I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to try and change my boss for so long instead of just quit after I saw the situation for what it was.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to blame my boss for the financial situation I got myself in because he tried to hide his actions and what they did to the company.

I forgive myself that I've accepted and allowed myself to blame my boss for the financial situation I got myself in because he did nothing to change after the problems were shown to him.


I commit myself to commit to companies only after I've evaluated the people in charge, the process of the company and the product/result that the company makes. In this I commit myself to carry responsibility for my own future to T instead of blaming others for being in a difficult situation.

When and as I see myself judge the organization I am in to have some flaw that endangers its very existence, I Commit myself to investigate the problem until I find out what it is. I then commit myself to direct the point to the best of my abilities. I commit myself to quit the organization if the problem doesn't resolve within the realization that there is absolutely no reason to waste my time trying to sail with a sinking ship.

When and as I see myself going into backchat that someone/something is causing serious problems in an organization that I am involved in, I commit myself to stop, to breathe and let them go with SF. I commit myself to do this because I realize that the story that I am now starting to tell will not lead to solutions but to reactions. I Commit myself to realize that if I focus on the reactions and stories instead of solutions, I won't look for solutions, I won't try to implement them the same way and I will remain in the organization for longer than is practical. I also commit myself to realize that if I tell these stories, I will accumulate reactions towards the people that I must cooperate with to solve the problems.

torstai 9. heinäkuuta 2015

Day 647 - How do you justify self-abuse and where will that lead you?

I don't think that anyone is willing to endure things in life "for nothing", if they have a choice. We have goals, we get rewards or then we enjoy what our actions make us in the eyes of others. At least this is what happened to me, and I don't think that I am that much different from the rest.

I didn't get too many rewards, but I had goals and I enjoyed showing myself that I could be diligent with my work and my study. Yet, as my exhaustion grew my justifications to keep on going changed.

Slowly I started to place great importance on the future I thought that my work would bring to justify the amount of work that I had to do. I shut my eyes and ears towards the fact that I saw no one else push themselves this hard by feeling special because of what I did in comparison to others. In time this made me loose interest in many things, such as the small things that I used to enjoy with my wife. Ultimately I realized the paths that laid in front of me: either I become a self-righteous bastard who believes in his own superiority to compensate for his self-abuse or I could quit, face my bullshit and to seek for a way of life that isn't in conflict with who I am.

During the time the choice to quit and to slow down was extremely difficult. I mean everywhere I look success and money is presented as the ultimate attainment. I also understood what I needed money for if I ever wanted to do anything in this world. I had great plans for the future and I wasn't about to use my money on myself, but I really wanted to created change.

I didn't want to let any of this go. I wanted to blame those I worked with for making shoddy plans and decisions. But then I was asked "what if you get a son, you keep on doing what you do now, he looks up to you and chooses to follow you?". That's when I stopped. I realized that I didn't want what I went through for anyone, at the very least for my child.

Letting go of my blames and my dreams calls out for very specific SF with real names, and thus I choose not to publish that.