Quote of the Week at New Day Chiropractic

Who told you?

For any negative opinion you have about yourself, I recommend you ask yourself this question: Who told you?

I know way too many people who say they don’t love themselves. In fact, there are people who hate themselves. Who told you that you’re not lovable? Who told you to hate yourself?

If you’ve ever been around kids, you know that hate isn’t inherent. Kids learn to hate people, things, and situations. Which also means, throughout their lives, people can learn to not love themselves.

When you ask the person why they don’t love themselves, they rattle off their reasons. Majority of the time, they:

  • Hold grudges against themselves for past transgressions that they would forgive someone else for committing
  • Have a negative, inaccurate picture of themselves due to the negative criticisms they’ve received over their lifetime
  • Have learned to dislike or hate themselves because they don’t have X, Y, Z characteristics like so-and-so

Who told you that you need to be someone else? Who told you that you need to act like someone else? Who told you that you need to look like someone else? Who told you?

An example too many of us relate to is we don’t think we’re pretty or beautiful or handsome or some other description that denotes us being attractive.

Who told you that you aren’t attractive as you are? And, just as importantly, why do you care about their opinion?

For most of us, the biggest culprit for our negative self-image is due to images constantly depicted on television, magazines, internet, and other forms of social media.

Who told you their opinion of you matters?

Who cares what some designer has to say if their spewing negativity and ignorance by saying they only design for a certain body type? Who cares what some photographer or editor has to say if they believe a person can only one look one way? Ever notice how, a lot of these designers/photographs/editors/directors/etc. don’t even look the way they say a person should look? They sound too closed-minded to be bothered to listen to. Why does their opinion matter to you?

I guarantee, most of the images you aspire to look like are so photoshopped that even those models don’t look like their pictures. And even if they do look that way, so what?

Who told you there’s only one version of beauty?

If you look at the world around you, you’ll constantly see drastic opposites that are equally majestic. The oceans and deserts, canyons and mountains, grasslands and forests are all equally breathtaking. Flowers and weeds, trees and bushes, succulents and cacti of all different species are each stunning in their own right. All of the phases of the moon and the positions of the sun are wondrous sights to behold. Towering buildings of large cities, quaint small towns, old structures of varying styles, and new modern architecture are each an amazing place to behold.

You get the idea.

People should be viewed in the same manner when it comes to appreciating our differences. People of every shape, size, color, ethnicity, background, and all of those other fantastic traits the create each of us are beautiful and amazing and majestic. Each of us is attractive in our own right. Each of us is a miracle.

Truth is, most people find different kinds of people who look vastly different from one another attractive.

And regarding the people in your life who critique your appearance, who told you to believe them? Who told you their opinion matters?

And if you are still convinced that you are not beautiful or attractive, who told you that you had to be attractive in order to be treated with love and respect by others? Who told you that you had to be beautiful in order to love yourself? Even if you are the most “hideous” person on the face of the planet, you are still worthy of love and respect. You still deserve to show yourself love.

You can take this question and apply to all aspects of your life.

Who told you that you’re not a good writer? Who told you that you can’t succeed? Who told you that you aren’t good enough? Who told you that you won’t be able to graduate?

And why does their opinion matter? None of us are perfect. These people giving you their opinions aren’t perfect, so why treat their opinion as truth? They can be wrong, so don’t feed into their incorrect belief.

Do you know the only times opinions matter? When they are positive and when they are constructive.

For all those who are negative or give harmful and damaging criticism about you, don’t believe their bullshit.

And remember, for any negative views you have about yourself, or the world for that matter, ask yourself: Who told you?

#whotoldyou #loveyourself #youareworthy #youmatter #youareamiracle #newdaychiropractic #drchestencantrell #rockymountva

If you think someone’s post is about you, truth is it probably isn’t, but you probably see yourself in it. Suggestion: Don’t get upset with the mirror . . . fix the reflection.

I picked up this lovely quote from Instagram account: 1.spiritual.

The first time I heard about the “mirror” concept was when I was 20-years-old and one of my best friend’s grandmother (Grammy) told me about it. She said that the things we don’t like or we get angry about in others are merely a reflection of the issues we have within ourselves that we need to address.

When she told me this, we were sitting on the balcony of April’s (Grammy’s granddaughter) and my apartment in Florida. April and I had decided to give acupuncture school a try and so we moved down there. We happened to live close to Grammy, so we were able to visit with her often. She had come over and spent the evening with us at the apartment. We all decided to sit on the balcony because the weather wasn’t quite as hot or humid as it typically was for Florida.

I remember my first impression of the “mirror” concept was a mixture of disbelief and hostility. “What about pedophiles, rapists, and murderers? How are they a reflection of me?” Because of that aspect, I completely shut off the concept of the mirror. I took her philosophy to an extreme example and used that as an excuse not to carefully consider her point. In philosophy, they call it “reduction ad absurdum” fallacy which translates to “reduction to absurdity.” I took her concept to an extreme version and because it didn’t fit that paradigm, I disregarded the “mirror” concept as a whole. Ironically, my hostile response to Grammy talking about the mirror shows there was validity to her philosophy. I was hostile towards the concept of other people being a reflection of myself because I didn’t want to acknowledge some of the less amiable parts of myself. I didn’t want to admit that those aspects I didn’t like about other people such as being judgmental, self-righteous, always right, attention seeking, and over dramatic were aspects within myself that I didn’t like.

Fast forward 8 years and A LOT of growing pains and the concept of the mirror resurfaced. This time, I didn’t meet it with hostility, but with an open-mind that there are aspects of the mirror concept that could be right.

I don’t think external life is ALWAYS a reflection of us. I don’t believe people such as pedophiles, rapists, and murderers are a reflection of me. I don’t think domestic or international terrorists or those who commit hate crimes are a reflection of me. I think having an emotional reaction to those types of people and situations is an appropriate and natural response because of the monstrosity of those situations. We need to have an emotional response to those situations to help with motivation to change those situations.

I think the “mirror” concept is valid when it comes to day to day interactions. An example is, I was called judgmental by a loved one when I was a teenager. I was offended when the person made the accusation against me. Another time, I was accused of being overly sensitive. Again, I took the accusation personally and vehemently rejected it, nearly bursting into tears at the thought. The fact was, I did identify subconsciously with those characteristics, but I didn’t like those tendencies about myself. I didn’t like that I judged people and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was a bad person. I didn’t like that I was sensitive and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was weak. By embracing those characteristics and exploring why they developed and where they came from, I would have had to be honest with myself. I was afraid of what I would find by exploring the inner depths of my psyche. I was worried I’d find a person I didn’t like.

Another example is I used to get over-the-top-annoyed by certain types of people. Those who were attention seeking/dramatic and those who were self-righteous always seemed to get on my last nerve. There is a difference between not enjoying the company of certain types of people and despising being around certain types of people. It’s okay to not want to hang out with everyone. It’s okay to have people you just don’t mesh with. But, to me, it’s when there is a high emotional response to hanging out with a person (that when you’re honest with yourself has done nothing wrong to deserve such an emotional response) that eludes to there being an internal issue within yourself going on that needs to be addressed. I was annoyed by the attention seekers because I identified with that desire to receive attention from others. Being around these people made me uncomfortable because it forced me to take a good look at myself and the things that I would do. I didn’t like that I enjoyed receiving attention and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was weak and desperate for love. I looked down on those who were self-righteous because I knew the skeletons in their closets and felt they had NO right to view anyone as less than them. Again, I couldn’t handle being around them because there were times where I was holier-than-thou. There were times where I viewed myself a “good” because “I didn’t do . . . like so-and-so did . . .” or “I messed up with this, but at least I didn’t do that like so-and-so did so that makes me a better person.” I didn’t like that I was so high-and-mighty and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I wasn’t a good person and that I was, in fact, arrogant.

By addressing and embracing these aspects of my personality, I noticed a shift in how I viewed others and myself. I no longer feel the need to judge or to be better than others. I enjoy rooting for people to reach their goals, to make their dreams happen, to find lasting love, and to become better versions of themselves that, in turn, make the world a better place. I no longer feel the need to be a know-it-all. I’m comfortable with being wrong and I acknowledge that what I know today may be viewed as obsolete tomorrow.

Another personal example is when I used to see posts on Facebook regarding intelligence. Any time I saw a post exclaiming someone was an idiot if they believed X, Y, and Z. I would get riled up and want to retaliate to prove my intelligence. I wouldn’t engage in online arguments, but the desire was there. I may or may not have even agreed with X, Y, and Z, but I still felt that overwhelming need to defend myself. Once I owned to the fact that I had insecurities about my intelligence and I addressed them, suddenly those sorts of posts no longer created an emotional response from me. I didn’t feel the need to prove my intelligence.

Being extremely defensive or extremely emotional about a situation can hint that there are issues underneath the surface that you need to address regarding the topic. Like the person who aggressively opposes homosexuality but is later caught having relations with a person of the same sex (or experimenting when they were younger). Like the person who has condemning comments to make about divorce but they have continuous affairs and/or are abusive towards their spouse.

As I stated before, I think the “mirror” concept can be valid, but it’s all about the level of the person’s emotional response that hints whether the topic needs to be address. If a Facebook post or a person’s comment causes rage or anxiety and it feels directed at you, then that may show there’s deeper things you need to personally address.

How can I fix the reflection? Here are some ways that I have worked on fixing my reflection. Before you start, I recommend you create a safe space for yourself where you can be as honest with yourself as you need to be.

First, acknowledge that the statement a person made or the post a person made bothered you. Then, here are different ideas of ways to go about dealing with it.

  1. The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson is an excellent book to read if you are open to those kinds of concepts. It has good techniques that you can utilize on yourself
    • A friend of mine is in the area who is a Certified Emotion Code/Body Code practitioner. When I have gone to her, the results have been phenomenal. Email me at newdaychiropractic@gmail.com if you would like her contact information.
  2. Tapping/Emotional Freedom Technique is another excellent technique. There are free videos on Youtube about how to tap. This is a great technique for children because it’s easy to learn and implement. When I have panic attacks and don’t understand where there are coming from, this is a technique I’ll use and it helps me regain my center.
  3. Ho’oponopono by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. It’s a powerful technique that utilizes the following phrases. “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” I recommend reading up on it and seeing if this technique meshes with you.
  4. Meditate and/or pray on the statement or the post that bothered you
    • Let whatever thoughts and feelings you have flow through you. You can say them out loud if you feel the need to
    • Allow the conversation to transform from “They say I am . . .” to “I think I am . . .”
    • Once you pinpoint these feelings and thought patterns, explore when they first came about. Was it when you were a child? Did you learn these thought patterns from someone else? Did someone say them to you?
    • For example: let’s say “I think I am stupid” comes from a time someone called you stupid when you were a child, forgive the person who called you that and forgive yourself for taking that statement me. Imagine that statement leaving your body and being sent into a bright light that eviscerates it. Imagine a new statement taking its place such as “I think I am smart” or “I am smart” or “I love and accept my level of intelligence” or whatever combination feels right for you.
  5. Write or draw or paint or build or sing or dance or utilize any form of creative expression to identify what it was about the statement or post that bothered you. You could even do chores or workout instead and see if that leads to better results. This is a like a movement meditation.

When you finish your session, thank yourself for having the courage to dive into your subconscious. Thank yourself for addressing the issues and clearing them out. Thank the person who made the statement or posted whatever it was that bothered you. They helped you realize there was an issue within yourself that needed to be addressed. You don’t have to thank them in person, but you can send a prayer of gratitude their way.

These are by no means the only ways to fix your reflection. There are many, many, many different types of techniques out there that are helpful. These are just a few of the techniques that I have had the privilege to be exposed to and they have helped me.

“The attempt to steer a person can make it hard for them to move, because it inactivates their own guidance system.”

I found this lovely quote off of an Instagram account called 1.spiritual. I enjoyed it so much that I made it my quote for the week. It also inspired me to write this little blog.

In this context, I think the word “steer” can be defined as one of the following:

  • A person controlling the movement of . . .
  • Follow in a specified direction

To me, this quote is referring to “steer” in the context of control. This quote advises people not to control others because it hinders the intuition of the person being controlled. It also could veer the person being controlled off the path they were meant to take in life.

Basically, controlling another person is not the way to go.

Whether we are aware of it or not, what we say and do can affect others in a positive or negative manner. When we exert control over another person, we are not helping them. We are crippling them. We are hindering their personal growth and progress.

And why are we exerting control? Is it really to help them? Or is it for more selfish reasons such as to feel superior or to feel some sort of value and worth?

While this may not be the case for everyone, I’ve personally noticed that those who feel the need to exert huge amounts of control on others do so because they feel they have NO control. Weird, right? It coincidences with a previous post I did regarding people who judge. Those who judge others are the ones who tend to feel the most insecure about themselves. Like those who bully do so because of an insecurity of some kind. The same can be said for those who try to control others. Those who try to control feel powerless over their life or their mortality or whatever the case, so they try to regain their power by controlling another person’s actions. Some have had terrible childhoods where they felt powerless, so they try to (incorrectly) heal their childhood scars (regain their power) by controlling others. For some, it’s not to heal their scars, but they believe deep down that if they do not control others, then others will control them. It understandable to have that mindset, especially if they grew up in a dog eat dog world where survival wasn’t guaranteed.

This doesn’t excuse their controlling demeanor and it doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to a person who is dominating your life. You may love this person, but you also have to love yourself enough not to subject yourself to inappropriate treatment. I’m merely mentioning where the person controlling may be coming from because, sometimes, the actions someone takes on us have nothing to do with us. For the person controlling, they need a person to control and it happens to be you. If they weren’t trying to control you, they would be trying to control someone else. While it feels very personalized, it may not be. You are not the problem. You do not deserve to be controlled.

While controlling is harmful, this does not mean that you can’t help others. I made a point to define what I think “steer” means in this quote because there are other versions of the definition “steer” that I do like:

  • A person guides the movement . . .
  • A piece of advice or information concerning the development of a situation

There is nothing wrong with helping and guiding people along their paths in life. Goodness knows I have had many wonderful people who have helped me along my journey. Their wisdom and their personal experiences helped shape me into the person I am today. It has helped me become a better person as well as a better doctor.

Some of their advice, I took and integrated it into my journey. Some of their advice did not resonate with me and I did not use it. That, I feel, is the key difference between guiding and controlling. Guiding takes into account my free will to decide how I will respond. With guiding, I can decide not to take the person’s advice and there are no hard feelings. I can decide to do something completely different and/or listen to someone else’s advice and the person doesn’t take it personally. The person doesn’t feel powerless or insecure that I did not follow their advice. They could have given me excellent advice and it just happens not to work with the path I’ve chosen to take. Even when I don’t follow a person’s advice, I do store it in my mind to pass along to others who may be in the same predicament because for that person the advice may be beneficial. I can also go along and make a decision without asking for advice and the person respects my choice. I can listen to my gut instinct and decide to follow my intuition and there are no hard feelings.

When a person controls instead of guides, there is no other way to do things. There is only one way, the “right way” this person had decided is such. This person takes it very personal if a person does not follow their advice. They have a “right way” to do everything and will force their viewpoint on a person. They want the person to listen to them over the person’s gut instinct. They believe they are always right. There are consequences if their advice is not taken. Though the person needing control may never admit it, by not following their advice it makes them feel powerless or insecure. It makes them question whether they were “right” with choices they’ve made. Do you get overwhelmingly angry or upset or hurt if someone doesn’t follow your advice? Do you feel the need to lash out or hurt them if they don’t listen? Do you feel your way is the only way and doing it any other way is vehemently wrong? If you resonate with these, I recommend you talk to a professional about your feelings and find healthy ways to address these feelings of powerlessness or insecurity you may have. They can also help you find ways to address this need to control. Your feelings are valid, but they may not be an accurate depiction of the world. Exerting dominance on your loved ones hurts them. It hurts your relationship with them.

There is not one “right” way to do things. There is not only one path a person can take. Someone can do things very differently from you and both of you still be correct. After all, 2 + 2 = 4, but 3 + 1 = 4 and 8 – 4 = 4 and so on and so forth. There are multiple ways to get to the same solution. There are multiple paths you can take to get to the same destination.

I have to admit that this quote is very personal for me. I have been in a situation where a person was severely controlling over my actions and words. Everything I did and said was held under scrutiny to the point where I questioned every action I took. To say my internal guidance system was inactivated seems too casual compared to how I felt. I felt like my intuition had been crushed into a thousand pieces and left to scatter in the wind. I had to admit that the relationship was unhealthy and I made the decision to leave. It was difficult, but I had to love myself enough to walk away. I’ll never forget the first time I sent an email after getting away from this person. I was a nervous wreck, questioning every word I wrote and every sentence I formed. When I realized how severely I was critiquing myself to write a basic three sentence email, I broke down. I had relinquished so much control that I had forgotten how to trust myself. I didn’t trust myself to write a simple email.

Now, I realize that this quote does hold true. My intuition wasn’t shattered, but it was deactivated. I have thankfully been able to reengage my internal guidance system. It was an interesting and long process that took hard work and blunt honesty, but it’s been worth it.

At the end of the day, this is your life. You have the opportunity to chose what you do with your life. Remember, doing nothing is still an active decision.

I have three quotes I’d like to share with y’all because I feel they all go together.

  • Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. – Matthew 22:39
  • If you judge them, you have no time to love them. – Mother Teresa
  • Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2

I’m sure you can already see what my message is: love more and judge less. Simple enough, right?

I’m going to be asking multiple questions throughout my talk that I encourage you to answer in your mind.

How many of you apply the concept of love more and judge less to yourself? How many of you love yourself? How many of you are hard on yourself? How many of you would hesitate to raise your hand to answer a question because you’re afraid of what others will say or think about you? How many of you kept your hand down in school even when you knew the answer because you were afraid of what others thought? Or you were afraid of being wrong? How many of you fear what you think about yourself?

If you are so busy judging yourself, what time do you have to love yourself? I’m sure all of you have a mirror in your house. How many of you complement yourself? How many of you see how beautiful you truly are? Your wrinkles and greying hair show you are alive and getting older. Aging is a gift not guaranteed to anyone. How many of you celebrate you are alive? Your cellulite is beautiful. Your scars are beautiful. Your love handles are beautiful. Our idea of the perfect human body changes by the decade. Don’t let society convince you your body is anything less than an amazing miracle. Your body is a special combination of stardust that forms you. Your body is your friend who ensures that you make it as best as you can to the next day. Sure, we all get sick and, yes, disease exists. And yes, we all eventually die due to our body shutting down. But no one said your body is perfect. Your body is your friend. Love your body. Give yourself at least one complement every day. You’ll be astounded by the difference it makes.

How many of you celebrate your accomplishments? Do you acknowledge them with the same vigor you do your failures? Why not? When you fail, do you focus on berating yourself or improving yourself? Did you know that failure is your best teacher? When you fail, you have the opportunity to grow as a person if you focus on what you need to improve without condemning yourself for failing. Do you celebrate the fact that you tried? I have failed tests. I have played sports where I’d try to score a goal and miss. I’ve lost games. I’ve failed at businesses. I’ve failed in relationships. Each time, I had the opportunity to either grow from the failure or withdraw completely from the activity and never try again.

By writing this, I know there’s a huge chance I’ll mess this up. I may use the wrong words or give terrible examples. I could fail to get my message across. And that’s okay. I’m glad I tried. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be imperfect. Embrace the flaws. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t living. If you judge yourself, you have no time to love yourself.

So, why do I keep emphasizing self-love when the quotes I picked talk about loving others and not judging them? Because we don’t emphasize the important of self-love. Because if you don’t love yourself and have compassion for yourself, how can you truly love others?

I was someone who didn’t truly learn to love myself until a couple of years ago. From the time I was around 18, I pretended to love myself, but it wasn’t sincere. Now, I love myself, flaws and all. I’ve noticed with this self-love, I’ve developed a depth of love for others I had never experienced before. Does it mean I never loved anyone or that my love for others before wasn’t sincere? No. I loved to the best of my ability with what I had and that’s great. My capacity to love before was different. The level I could love was different. Before, my love was a puddle compared to the river it is now.

And even with my improvements, I’m fully aware that I still have more ways I can improve and develop as a person. I hope to one day be an ocean of love. I embrace my journey and the fact that I will always have room to grow all of my life. When I first realized I would never reach a final level of growth, it was daunting. Now, I view it as an important aspect of life. When you view growth as a cultivating experience (or in videogame terms “leveling up”), it makes it seem like a better experience than referring to it as “work.”

How many of you hesitate or won’t try certain things because you fear judgment? Do you regret not doing certain things? Do you regret not speaking out? Do you regret not raising your hand?

Well here’s something to keep in mind. Another reason I emphasize self-love is this: the people who judge you are also judging themselves. I feel the verse “do not judge or you too will be judged” has nothing to do with an outside force judging us. It’s a continuation of our judgment. We are judging ourselves so viciously that we, in turn, find others to judge so we can deem our situation “not that bad.”

“Well, sure, I’m addicted to caffeine, but John Doe is a heroin addict, so I’m not that bad.”

“I got a 46 on my exam, but Jane Doe got a 40, so I’m not that dumb.”

Do you see the pattern? Do you ever do that? I used to quite frequently.

If you fear judgment of others, you need to realize a few things:

  • People who love you won’t condemn you. They may talk about you, but everyone talks about everyone. I guarantee all of you talk about people. It’s nothing personal. Gossip is part of life.
  • People who judge you are like that with everyone, including themselves. It’s still nothing personal. They are trying to make themselves feel better. They are trying to cover their fears and insecurities by distracting themselves with others’ flaws and drama. Imagine being trapped in that kind of mindset and that kind of negativity ALL DAY. It’s not fun. Trust me. That was me for a couple of decades.

The people who judge you are suffering because they aren’t able to be bathed in self-love or love of others. Their judgment, their insecurities, their emotional baggage, and their childhood scars wrap their hearts up like a fortress. They subconsciously think holding these hurts and using them as barriers will protect them from ever experiencing pain again. Instead, all it does is prevent them from giving and receiving love to its full extent and power. Their fortresses and their protective layers are actually a self-made prison.

You could take it a step further and argue they’re unable to truly feel God’s love. Even if you aren’t religious (to be honest, I’m not), you could say they don’t feel how interconnected we all are. Whether we come from God or Stardust or both, we all come from the same source. We are all in this together. We are all connected. They don’t see this. They feel alone in a hostile and unforgiving world.

Life is a contact sport. It’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I have met and known many people who had terrible childhoods who still view the world as a loving place. It is possible to enjoy life no matter the circumstance. It isn’t always easy and, sometimes, you need pain so you can get moving to put yourself in a better position than you are now.

Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Soul pain is no different. It’s a way for the spirit to tell you something needs to be addressed. Pain isn’t the enemy. It’s our honest, blunt, to-the-point friend who is looking out for our well-being.

Another reason I talk about self-love is because if we truly love ourselves, we wouldn’t end up in some of the predicaments we do. We wouldn’t subject ourselves to the abuse we do. There are people who have toxic family and friends. They focus so much on honoring their parents that they forget to honor themselves by not subjecting themselves to abuse. Stressful environments make you sick. Stressful environments shorten your life. Period.

For me, if I had truly loved myself, I wouldn’t have entered a toxic relationship. Or, I would have left the relationship sooner than I did.

Imagine if our children were taught and practiced self-love. How many would succumb to peer pressure regarding drugs or sex or vandalism? How many would dodge unhealthy relationships and friendships? How many wouldn’t engage in violence or bullying? How many would be able to withstand bullying and stand up to bullies? How many would be more engaged in school because they are unashamed of learning?

For adults, how many would stand up to social injustices? How many would put more into spreading love and good deeds? How many would focus on spreading equality? How many would try to reunite our world and embrace our differences instead of trying to force everyone to be the same?

Self-love is not just some New Age concept. It’s a necessity for survival and for a better quality of life for everyone. To love yourself is to empower yourself. If you feel empowered and are filled to the brim with love, do you think you would have more to pass along to others?

So, how can we change these judgy people? Simple. You can’t. People will only change because they want to. You can, however, create a safe space for everyone in your life to grow and thrive. You can love them.

And you can love a person from a distance. If the relationship is toxic, don’t stay in it. Don’t subject yourself to pain for the sake of that person. You are not here to be their scapegoat. You are not here to be their punching bag. Separate from the toxic person. Offer love from a distance, but don’t engage. Offer forgiveness and compassion, but don’t interact.

How can you improve?

  1. Have compassion for others, including those who will never change. That’s their life path and their journey. It’s not meant to be the same as yours.
  2. Respect others and their differences.
  3. Tell yourself you love yourself. Say at least three nice things to yourself every day.
  4. Tell your pets, family, and friends you love them.
  5. Spend time with those who make you feel better.
  6. Laugh and spread laughter.
  7. Find books, YouTube videos, movies, and other things that inspire you and make you happy.
  8. Write, draw, paint, talk, or find a healthy way to release your pain.
  9. Volunteer or somehow get involved with groups in your community that promote compassion and respect for everyone regardless of their differences.
  10. Talk to people who are different than you. Read books about cultures and practices that are different from your own. The more you learn about others, the more you realize how much we are all the same. You’ll realize that the “us” versus “them” mentality is no more logical or healthy than the “me against the world” mentality.

You don’t have to use any of these ideas. They’re just practices that worked for me.

Be patient with yourself. My spiritual journey consciously started when I was 12. I’ve detoured multiple times. I’ve climbed Fool’s Hill more than once. There have been many times where I was a know-it-all, judgmental, condemning, mean, and unforgiving. There are times where I don’t treat people with love and compassion. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of times down the road where I’ll lapse again. That’s the way life goes.

I’m 30 and I didn’t feel like I had truly loved myself until I was 29 and, as I mentioned before, even with my improvements, I still continue to grow.

So, be patient and have compassion for yourself.

And, most importantly, love yourself.

I would like to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Create your outlet. What do I mean by that?

We all have stress occurring in our life on a daily basis. It can be from work, finances, academics, family, friends, or other areas that are beyond our control. We can sometimes be bombarded with emotions that we would rather not have and we don’t have a great way to release these negative emotions.

Instead of dealing with these emotions, a lot of people turn to addictive non-productive alternatives to try to escape from their emotions. It can be through smoking. It can be through drinking alcohol or doing recreational drugs. It can be through gambling. It can be through eating a lot. It can be through not eating at all. It can be through playing video games. It can be through watching television or movies. You get the picture.

For me, the way I create my outlet is through writing. I have a notebook that I write in at least fifteen minutes every night. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or if I feel like I have nothing to write about. I still write. I typically write about things that may be bothering me at that moment. I write about my stresses. I write about the things I am grateful for. I write about the people and situations in my life who have made me better. I write how I feel about these different situations I’m in and the people that I am interacting with at the time. There are times I write fluff! There are times my writing turns into stories or poetry. For me, writing is the best outlet I have found. It has benefited me in many ways including:

  1. It helps me find and keep my voice. We are constantly overwhelmed with other peoples’ opinions and propaganda on a daily basis. We all need a space we can go to that allows us a moment to remember who we are and bask in our individuality.
  2. It helps me see how I am viewing myself in the situation. It is easy for us to fall into a pattern of being a certain type of person during a conflict. For me, writing it all down allows me to find out how I really feel about myself. Am I trying too hard to make it seem like I was the victim in the situation or am I merely stating all of facts of what occurred? Am I too hard on myself or giving myself too much slack? Again, this gives perspective.
  3. It gives me clarity on my situations. It helps me figure out if I over-reacted, under-reacted, or reacted appropriately. Sometimes, a situation appears one way in our head, but once it gets put on paper, the situation suddenly doesn’t seem as detrimental.
  4. It helps me realize when my emotions have nothing to do with a current situation. We all have childhood scars. With this come emotional triggers that we may or may not realize we have. For me, if a person does something to remind me of a negative person from childhood, I automatically go in defensive mode and over-analyze everything the person does afterwards even though the person in general is nothing like the one from my past. By writing everything down, it helps me realize when this occurs. It helps me realize what my emotional triggers are. It helps me remember not to do it again.
  5. It helps my seemingly terrible issues melt away. I feel more at peace after I write. I feel like it was a way of getting everything off my chest without accidentally reacting inappropriately in a situation.
  6. It helps me react better to situations. Because I am constantly letting go of my stressors, I am able to react well to new stressors. Instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed and waiting for that last straw, I’m throwing off the weight every night. I feel that, for me, I tend to over-react less and I am able to analyze the current situation better than I would if I didn’t write.

Writing isn’t for everyone and I fully acknowledge that. Writing about stressors may not be for everyone either. If your negative emotions only feel stronger when you write about it, then that may not be the way to go about it. I’m just sharing what works for me.

Your outlet could be drawing, painting, or some other arts and crafts project. Your outlet could be working on your car or athletics.

The important thing is, create an outlet. Don’t just settle for the things everyone else does.

Instead of only playing a video game, why not come up with the idea for a video game? I don’t know how easy it is to invent a game, but with the advancements in technology, it seems like it’s possible to make some pretty amazing games on phones, internet, and gaming systems.

Instead of only watching a television show or a movie, why not write a script for it? Or, why not get some friends together and perform a skit? You can even get it recorded and put it online to share with others.

Instead of only listening to music, why not take part in creating music? If you like singing, sing! If you want to learn an instrument, then learn it! If you want to create an album, create it! Again, with the way technology is now, you could record an album from home.

As long as your outlet is safe and helps decrease your stress, you ought to venture out to find it.

By no means is this post meant to take away from people in the mental health care field. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or any other certified person in that respected field. It can be a rewarding experience to go to one of these credentialed individuals to get professional help. This post is not providing professional help. This post comes from personal experience and nothing more than that. If you feel that your stressors are overwhelming to the point that you feel that you may hurt yourself and/or others, you should seek professional counseling immediately.

Thanks for reading! Go forth and create!

Dr. Chesten