Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shame - Your Achilles Heel

As you may recall, the Achilles Heel is that one vulnerability that you have that can, if triggered, or exploited, bring you to your knees, emotionally.  For some, it is shame.  For a person for which their Achilles Heel is shame, one must only self-inflict shame, or someone else can inflict the shame, and the person is brought to their knees.  The problem is that shame is a relatively useless weakens a person much more than it possibly motivates them, and it lowers self-esteem every time it is used.  It is a powerful weapon in the 'right' hands, in that someone who knows how to use another's shame can keep that individual under tight control, and can keep the upper hand in the relationship. It is also sadistic to use shame to control someone, and demonstrates a lack of compassion or grace.  People who have been reared on shame both have this as their Achilles Heel, and inadvertently use the technique of delivering shame on others.  Two people in a relationship who are skilled in using this technique will 'grind each other down,' over time, until the relationship implodes.  A person who has had this technique used against them will suffer from low self-esteem, self-doubts, and perhaps depression and anxiety.  And, they will be resentful or angry, and will hold in them a desire to retaliate against the person who has used the shame technique.  Shame does not produce anything positive, and is not constructive.  For most people, it is unwittingly used; for a select few, it is a weapon of choice.  While shame can be a powerful method of retaliation against misdeeds or improper behavior, it comes at the cost of the relationship, and of the mental health of both the deliverer, and of the receiver.  It is akin to using a nuclear weapon to clean out the bugs in your will work, but at a terrible price.

If you are a deliverer of this technique, and wish to reform yourself, consider the situation, and the reason you wish to use this technique.  Then, re-check whether this is indeed what you wish to do, and think of other possible methods of addressing the situation.  Resist the urge to resort to shame, and challenge yourself to find another way.  Consider the possibility that the relationship is broken, if it seems that using shame is a good idea.  Try to learn how to avoid being in such situations, in the future, either by avoiding relationships where this comes up as a solution, or by avoiding frustrations that generate the desire to utilize this technique.  If the relationship is an important one to you, give yourself a rule that you will not use shame, and do your best not to deviate from this.  Consider the emotional cost of shame, both to yourself, and to the other person.   Delivering shame can be a form of abuse, and doing so costs you, in that you must allow dark feelings into your psyche, and must allow intense negativity to reside in your soul.   If you are the recipient of shame, turn it away, without considering its' merit, and ask the person delivering the shame to use a different way to communicate what they wish to communicate.  Protect yourself from those who seem to resort to this technique on a chronic basis; it can be a form of abuse.  Recognize the signs that you are being shamed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Is Love?

It seems the word 'love' is thrown around a lot, but what exactly is it?  Lovers use that word, after they meet, to explain to the other the overflowing feeling of happiness and warmth they feel for the other.  Parents use the word to describe that feeling of devotion and attachment they feel for their children.  Married couples use the word to describe the sense of connection and attachment, and warmness they feel for their spouse.  Brother and sister use it to describe their attachment to each other, and to express their loyalty and dedication to family.  All around us, the word is used for so many relationships, and for so many purposes.

However, what is love?  Isn't love a feeling that is, by definition, a feeling that trumps all others...the final destination...the ultimate feeling?  Is it not THE feeling that we all crave, because it comes with it a promise of 'forever' and a steadiness that is unwavering?  Isn't it the strongest of all positive feelings; the one that does not change?

If love is all of these things, then why, so often, does it seem as if it does not live up to its' promise?  Is it that the concept is wrong?  Is it perhaps true that nothing lasts forever, including love?  Is it perhaps true that love is not the ultimate feeling, that love is not for forever, and that love is not really steadfast and unwavering?  Or, is it perhaps the case that the word is used too easily, and without a full understanding of what it is supposed to mean?  Perhaps in reality, a true feeling of love is rare, and people should really be using lesser variations of the concept, such as 'like,' or 'enjoy' or 'appreciate' or 'feel close to' or 'feel attached to,' etc.  Or, perhaps one should simply know that it is a feeling that develops over time, with work and commitment, and should not permit others to use the term so glibly when describing how they feel towards them.

Love, in my opinion, is an action as much as it is a feeling.  In order to love, one must reach out to the other, emotionally, and must put themselves in the others' shoes; they must feel a strong desire to give of their caring and warmness to the other; to make the well-being of the other as important as their own well-being; to wish for their success; to invest interest in the other, and time in the other; to want to protect the other, and to cherish the other.  Love is not something automatic, in my opinion, but an action that must be consciously made, and continuously made, forever.  It is something that must be always nourished, through consistent attention to it, and to the person for whom you have this feeling.  The feeling must be protected by both of those involved in the connection; actions or settings that harm the feeling must be avoided.  Love requires devotion, and without devotion, love cannot survive. It is not that one will do all of these actions if they love someone, but rather that one will probably love someone if one does all of these actions.