The Art of Acceptance

October 23, 2015

ART OF ACCEPTANCE

Buddha's famous saying goes as:

"IT IS YOUR RESISTANCE TO "WHAT IS" THAT CAUSES YOU SUFFERING"

The meaning is really simple. It is our opposition to the consequences or the happenings, that contribute to our suffering. This writing also aims to discuss the same.

We are born, we go through the stages of life: childhood, adulthood, old-age and then death. This is inevitable and one has to accept that. Life is like a roller-coaster ride except that- during the journey the ups and downs are more unexpected. And if you are not affected by these (you don't cry on the ride), you are near to perfection.

Acceptance plays a very important role in this regard.

Accept your failures, but don't let it mask your future success.

Accept that you have been betrayed, but try to look at the things you learned.

Accept that your job isn't the best, but don't stop looking for a better job.

Accept that you are rude, before people tell that to you.

Accept that you got lesser marks, but that can be improved.

Accept that there are too many hardships, but life is still amazing.

Just accept the reality and move on. This acceptance can reap two fruits: one- the person gets to know his own self, two- The person can't move ahead past his acceptance. Latter is dangerous and has to be dealt with.

There is one more quote deeply related to this art:

"NEVER LIE TO YOURSELF"

A person who is true to himself is the one who accepts everything: good or worse. Once we accept, a lot of questions are automatically answered and there is a new hope.  "I accept that i failed and i will give it another go"- this attitude can crumble mountains. If you keep on brooding over how you were the unluckiest person in the world, no luck will ever favor you. Accept your unluckiness and move ahead, be a KARMA YOGI.

All the concepts converge at some point. Finally last words for the best:

"ACCEPT YOUR LIFE OR IT WON'T ACCEPT YOU"

Written by 7 Cups Listener: spiritonsinus

Edited by 7 Cups Ambassador: Anna

Tags:acceptancesuccesstruthaccept the truth

I Ran Away from an Abusive Relationship in My 20s. Here Are the 6 Lessons that Helped Me Heal.

October 16, 2015

A year ago, I left my home behind and started to drive north. I didn’t know where I was going to end up. I just knew that my heart was broken. I just knew that my body was hurting and that my mind wanted to forget.

I told people that I wanted a change of pace. It was partially true. But, at the core, I was actually running away from a physically and emotionally abusive relationship that tore my entire world to pieces.

Until last month, I mostly remained silent about what happened. I went about my life as though nothing hurt, nothing happened, and all the pieces that fell apart could be neatly catalogued and returned to their proper place.

“Am I done healing now?” I’d ask myself after I had uprooted everything, hoping the pain had evaporated. It just loomed larger over me as I tried to push it down.

Finally, in September, after six months of writing and throwing away and forgiving myself for writing terribly and then writing some more, I hit “Publish” on a post that has since been accepted to one of Medium’s top publications and read by thousands.

I have received an outpouring of stories from other women in return, who have shared their journeys with me privately as well as in more public forums like Medium, Facebook, and Twitter. And I have learned, more than ever before, that our voices hold our power. We can use that power in our healing, to get at the core of what we really need when we leave an abusive relationship behind: connection with calming, caring humans just like you and me.

Today, I am breaking down some solid steps you can take after leaving an abusive relationship to take care of yourself. Whether it has been two days or two years since leaving an abusive relationship, these are all important to bear in mind. These lessons got me through some of my darkest days. It is my hope that they can get you through yours too.

Because there is light after all this.

I’ve stood in the dark before too. I promise it doesn’t go on forever.

1.  Recognize your emotions and do not label them as positive or negative.

After leaving an abusive relationship, your emotions vacillate wildly between joy and anguish, loneliness and triumph. You experience varying baselines of sadness, numbness, anger, regret, and shame. These are hallmark emotions of those who have escaped from trauma.

Left unchecked, these emotions can slide into long-term depression, which happens to over 30% of survivors of abuse. Everything you are feeling is normal. A third of the women in your shoes have felt what you’re feeling for long periods of time.

There is nothing positive or negative about the emotions you are feeling. They simply are. They simply must be felt, not “worked through.”

If you’re having trouble with self-blame and you continue asking yourself questions like, “How could I let this happen?” or saying to yourself, “If I had only done ____ differently,” this, too, is normal. Let the questions sit and know that they don’t have answers.

 

2. See yourself as imperfect.

You are imperfect. I am imperfect. But we are all here as imperfect beings together, worrying, blaming, regretting, crying, and smiling through the everyday.

It took me many months to come to this realization after everything that transpired in my relationship. After reading the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, PhD, it became abundantly clear to me: none of what happened was my fault, starting with my own wants and needs since birth. Instead of blaming and trying to change myself and my needs, I can just accept them and nurture myself where it’s most needed.

There is nothing wrong with you that allowed any of this to happen. All of everything you have been through is a lesson that got you to this very point. It was a lesson in how to set boundaries, love yourself (and look back at little you to love her too and tell her that she is worthy), recognize signs of what you need to look for in future partners, and see red flags in people you should not let into your life in the future.

 

3. Ask: when was the last time you cared for yourself?

This one is simple. What activities make you feel alive? Calm? Unjudged? Connected to others and to your core self?

Now when was the last time you did those things without wondering how to be better at them or how you can ever do those things more?

 

4. Now, quickly: Think about how you answered that question. Did you just judge yourself for not caring for yourself enough?

If so, you may be playing out a narrative of unworthiness, and there is nothing wrong with that either. It is necessary, though, to be aware of it to stop it in its tracks.

You are worthy. It is not your fault. And it is time to take care.

Here’s a personal anecdote: I spent most of my life feeling unworthy, feeling like I wasn’t enough or feeling like I had to strive to do things that would encourage people to praise and accept me. I had a 4.83 GPA in high school for this reason. It served me well, I felt celebrated for short periods of time, but it covered up a lot of what I pushed down. For a long time, realizing that I had felt unworthy for so long felt like a waste too. I felt bad for feeling at all, and started to blame myself for not feeling more worthy. And around and around I’d go into a downward spiral...

Every day you have spent feeling unworthy was not a waste. It was a lesson. It laid the groundwork for finally loving myself. I never needed him or the relationship. I needed my own love, my own acceptance as a flawed, imperfect, evolving human being. Most cultures, family, and friends don’t give women the space to feel this way safely. You have to create that space yourself.

 

5. Your voice matters. See a therapist, go to Meetups, go to 7 Cups of Tea, go to your best friend.

It is often safer to talk to strangers when you are finally ready to speak about what happened to you. Your friends may or may not be your allies. They may not understand or they may not know what to say. It is best to go to parties who cannot judge or, if possible, who are experts in healing from trauma.

There are Meetups for survivors of trauma, yoga classes, and thanks to technology and community’s convergence, there is 7 Cups of Tea.

In fact, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 7 Cups of Tea is launching a new support guide to the entire community. Once it is launched, you will actually be able to search for listeners who have been through this DV training. What a gift in your times of darkness.

Try each and see what helps you feel connected to others who have been in your shoes. According to Psychology Today, this is the only way to release the pain of what you’ve experienced.  

We are raised to believe that we should be silent, that our desire is second, that speaking the name of what hurts will result in shame. This is what keeps so many of us silent.

What is truly key here is that you are giving yourself the space to feel what hurts. And the only way to heal from the hurt is to feel it. I know that seems counterintuitive, but how can you heal from something that you have not fully acknowledged exists?

 

6. If you’re not yet ready to share your story, that’s okay too.

Your inclination to seek connection to others who have been through similar situations is a positive sign. That doesn’t mean that shouting about what happened to you is the best course of action.

You won’t be here forever. This despair does not go on indefinitely. You may not yet realize how much company you have in your sadness. You are here, reading this, perhaps in the deepest depths of your sorrow. There are so many people around you who feel what you feel, who cannot say it. So when you are ready, you will speak. Not a moment sooner.

 

Conclusion

I speak from the vantage point of great privilege. I make sure to acknowledge this at every turn because I know I am standing atop more safety than millions of women in this world. It is for this very reason that I do make an effort to shout my words, as quiet as they may seem, while I am able. It is my responsibility to narrate the atrocities that have happened, to hold space for others so that they don’t continue to happen.

I write this today in support of all those women who have shared their voices in this conversation and who so desperately want to.

I write this in the hopes that those who have not yet found a way out will start to see some light, will start to make your way towards the door. I’m holding the door open for you whenever you’re ready to walk through. All of your friends and fellow survivors will be waiting for you.

 

Written by: Carrie Jones 

 

Carrie is a writer, community builder, and survivor of an abusive relationship. In the last year, she has started to write about her experiences healing from abuse. She has found enormous strength and power in the process. She aims to build safe spaces for the 35% of the world's women who have been abused to share their stories and release the weight they carry on their shoulders.

Find Carrie on Twitter: @caremjo

Tags:domestic violenceselfcare

Don't Repress, EXPRESS!

October 14, 2015

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We have all been in a situation where we've "held our tongue" to "keep the peace", or bottle our emotions in order to keep the harmony... but there is a reason we call it bottling our emotions: the bottle will only hold so much. Sometimes we hold too much inside, and this can become serious. Suppressing your emotions can lead to physical and emotional health difficulties, and is not a healthy long-term strategy. When you're feeling the need to let out a strong emotions of anger, frustration, or even sadness, what can you do? Here's the good news: there are some productive (and even FUN) ways to express your emotions instead of internalizing them.

Learning to express yourself in a healthy and productive way can reduce future stress, make you less aggressive, boost your tolerance of emotional pain, and actually lengthen your life! AMAZING benefits! Of course, talking to someone you trust or speaking to a professional can help, but sometimes it can be hard to express how we are feeling in words.

So, because expressing yourself in positive ways is such an awesome thing, here is a list all about expressing yourself creatively or positively in various ways:

* Make a sculpture that you think depicts how you feel

* Hike up to the top of a mountain and scream as loud as you can

* Throw pebbles/rocks into a river and count the ripples

* Put pen to paper: write a letter, a list, a poem, a sing.. whatever comes out!

* Learn how to meditate, or go to a yoga class

* Dance your feelings: put on a crazy song, or go out to a club, and get those endorphins flowing

* Start a blog or a website: it might be about a hobby, or maybe your feelings, either way, creative outlet!

* Role Play: act your feelings out through drama or performance

* Start a journal/diary

* Scribble: don't let anyone tell you you shouldn't!

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” - Shannon L Alder

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Written by 7 Cups Listener: IzzieBelle

Edited by 7 Cups Ambassador: Anna

Tags:express yourselfpositivitybe yourself

How Nature Impacts Our Minds

October 6, 2015

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Nature is "the total phenomena of the physical world including plant kingdom, animal kingdom, landscapes, waters and other features and products of the earth, except human creations is nature.”

Nature connects to our minds: F.E. Kuo, W.C. Sullivan & Coley conducted a field study at the Human Environmental Research Lab. They found that, time spent in nature connects us to each other and the larger world. Another study at the University of Illinois revealed that residents of Chicago public housing who had trees and greenery around their building reported of having stronger feelings of unity with neighbors, being more concerned with helping and supporting each other and having stronger feelings of belonging than tenants in buildings without trees.

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A snap of Austrian village Hallstatt shows us how we can live amongst nature.

Nature heals us: Being in nature or even viewing scenes of nature in images reduces anger, fear, stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Several research proved that a bad environmental condition (like biohazards, pollution etc.) can increase our stress and depression level and impacts our bodies badly. On the other hand a clean green natural environment decreases our stress and depression level and impacts our bodies positively.

Nature improves memory: Marc G. Berman and his colleagues at the University of Michigan tested the effect of natural scenery on cognitive function & memory. The results showed that people’s (who participated in the test) short term memory increased by almost 20% after wandering amongst the trees regularly.

Nature reduces acute stress: Ever heard of ‘shinrin-yoku’? It’s a Japanese word which means ‘forest bathing’. The Japanese are big fans of walking in the forest to promote their mental health. Japanese researchers has found that ‘shinrin-yoku’ is particularly useful for those suffering acute stress. Forest bathing reduced the hostility and depression as well as increasing people’s liveliness.

Nature can improve ADHD symptoms: Children, suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who play more outside (like in the greeny park full of trees) have less severe symptoms. Researcher Talylor and Kuo found that amongst 400 children diagnosed with ADHD, those that routinely played outside in green settings had better concentration. Not only that those children tend to be more healthy and happier.

From reducing stress and depression to making us healthy and strong, nature benefits us in every way.

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Nature is in danger: At present our ecosystem is in danger due to deforestation & man made pollution. There was approx. 40,318 square kilometers of total forest area in 2008 which reduced to 39,519 square kilometers in 2012 according to survey of FAOSTAT. As a result global warming and pollution rate increasing highly, damaging our healthy lifestyle.

Our Responsibilities: Now it’s time for us to protect our protectors.

-We need to save and plant trees effectively.

-We must adopt clean energy and use eco-friendly products.

-We should harvest rainwater and use it for farming. Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, you're doing something good.

-Use papers wisely, use both sides of a paper. Don’t print anything until it's necessary. Recycle newspapers.

-Turn off lights, computers, TVs and other electronics accessories when not in use.

-Use rechargeable batteries. Avoid and reject plastic containers, bottles as much as you can. We need to keep our world clean and green by maintaining our own local areas.

Citations: 

1. http://lhhl.illinois.edu/all.scientific.articles.htm

2. http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

3. www-personal.umich.edu/~jjonides/pdf/2008_2.pdf

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coniferous_forest#Classification

5.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_bathing

 

Written by 7 Cups Listener: LoveApple

Edited by 7 Cups Ambassador: Anna

Tags:NatureImpactMindADHDStress Relief