Stop Self-Bullying

Catherine DeAngelis

Belongingness is the quality or state of being, an essential or important part of something – we all need to have a sense of belonging.

 

That intense need for belonging in family, with friends, at work, school, in cultural communities, can bellow out like an emotional titanic in our brain. This need brings a sinking feeling we are drowning because somehow, we got it in our head, we are nerdsdifferent or just don’t fit in. We become isolated.

We malign ourselves with words like “I am weird,” “I am born under a bad sign,” or “black sheep of the family.”  It doesn’t end there. It gets worse for many of us. That deep-seated pain is buried yet we have recall of the time that kid hollered “hey spider face.” What we used to be called during school recess in grade 5 by an all-pervading cliché bully does not have to be a recurring self-punishment.

Some of us take the “fight or flight response ” when these emotions arise in us – at holiday time, birthdays, family or other social gatherings. Anxiety permeates our flesh.  Those undealt with emotions surface to remind us the pain hasn’t gone away.

Emotional Pain

Emotional pain can create a kind of electric surge in us that we apply a self-criticism that we are not good enough. We have given ourselves the same treatment we may have been exposed to and continue the pitter-patter of thoughts in the mind. A take-over happens and the same thoughts repeat giving us the same lie handed down to us – over and over.

When do we become responsible for these feelings or emotions that arise from this all mighty thing we call name-calling, whether it came at us from the past or still present today?

We know who the name-caller is most of the times, but when it comes to ourselves, who can we blame?

How many of us have this bully-self that is a name-caller often creating havoc in our thoughts doing the same kind of personal damage that psychologists claim do to a bullied child?

We attach personal name-calling of another nature to ourselves, no different from what we battled in our school yard or for some, our parents, siblings, teachers who may have intentionally or unintentionally thrown stones, at our already fragmented self.

Sense of Belonging

We could be at any age range. Our desperate yet silent need for belongingness steals our right to trust we are who we are right here right now. We belong inside and out of our skin; we feel betrayed by a lie given to us somewhere, at sometime, in our lives.

Just as there is zero-tolerance for behavioral disturbances for bullying, victimization and standing by during bullying – this approach can be given the same respect to our internal messaging. How long do we stand and continue to bully ourselves without doing a darn thing about it? It strips self-esteem and tears at our confidence to create a concrete barrier to our success.

What was the lie is something we can ask ourselves? It is the lie that can fester and remind us we are supposed to be somebody more than what we are, because somewhere we were told we didn’t measure up. So what!

Simple it seems that the truth is a matter of consequence for we judge ourselves too harshly when we are unable to uncover the monster that looms underneath these trapped emotions — we plainly feel we are “damaged goods.”

On Being Human

Jean Vanier’s vision of belonging is described best in his book, Becoming Human,My vision is that belonging should be at the heart of a fundamental discovery: that we all belong to a common humanity, the human race. We may be rooted in a specific family and culture but we come to this earth to open up to others, to serve them and receive the gifts they bring to us, as well as to all of humanity.”

We can stop our self-bullying by reminding ourselves, those negative self-deprecating words in our head are a lie, and thoughts, they lie to us. Isn’t it time to stop belittling and devaluing ourselves?

More important than the need to be loved is the need to belong – for some of us it is an affirmation we need, over and over again, to kick out the old messages and replace the messages with new ones.

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”  ― Jean VanierCommunity And Growth.

Resources

Click here for a helpful resource on how to switch from negative to positive self-talk

 

 

 

 

Some SELF Affirmations

  • Fall in love at first sight with you every day – replace self-bullying, hurtful words with positive ones – weave them into a personal mantra like “I am energetic, healthy, physically and emotionally fit.”
  • Be mindful – let your eyes meet you in the morning and make it an instant attraction of SELF. Do this every day until it is natural part of you. Loving self is not bad, it is number one to bringing others to loving us more.
  • Allow love to happen – anywhere, anytime!
  • Find help – getting stuck in negative thought patterns can hinder you in your life in many aspects – don’t go it alone — ask for help – all kinds of talk therapies and support services are available – explore solutions.
  • Giving up is not an option – call 911 or visit closest hospital emergency in your area if ever self-talk takes you to a hopeless state.

No matter what, give a shout out “I am not damaged goods, and I too belong here.” Make you matter – affirm the positives, find ways to reverse belittling self-talk. When you get stuck in the negative thought streams, be accountable – know that we are all part of a common humanity – the human race.

Editor’s Note: this post was originally published August 23, 2013 and has been updated.

 

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Lone Wolf…

Trances With Wolves
A New Hope for a Lone Wolf

Walking On Water   

by Stephen A. Nelson
(republished)
walk on water

 

 

 

 

 

 

A musical friend of mine, Mackenzie Brown, sings a song about her close encounter of the third kind…the song is called Walking On Water:

And I’ll be walking on water baby
I’ll be walking on water with you
I’m Walking on water ’cause I’m with Great Manitou

1. Saviour, you’re my saviour 
You are everywhere I want to be
Come save me great sky leader I need
Your guidance today

2. Let you spirit surround me
Let me feel your presence
I want to be part of you
I need your guidance today

To the spiritually minded, Mackenzie’s lyrics written and sung by her, are resplendent with Christian imagery: a baby and the Great Manitou. A Saviour who leads and guides. A “spirit in the sky” whose presence surrounds.

These lyrics would have resonated with Father Jean de Brébeuf, author of The “Huron Carol” (or “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime“), a Christmas hymn he wrote in the native language of the Huron-Wendat people. He had given the song to them as a gift and referred to it during his teachings and missionary work.

But Mackenzie says she was not conscious of such metaphors when she wrote the song. She actually composed the ode after she saw a wolf pack making its way across the partially frozen Jasper Lake. To her, it looked like the wolves were walking on water. It was a profound spiritual experience.

I thought of Mackenzie’s song – the story behind it– when I saw two photos that recently went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

The first was an image of the Northern Lights in which the Aurora Borealis took the form of a wolf; a Spirit in the Sky. It was like “the heavenly dancers” meets Dances With Wolves. It was so spooky, so unreal, that some people refused to believe it was real.

AA Sky Wolf Marja-Terttu Karlsson left her home in Pajala boost

The second photo was picture of a wolf pack trekking through the winter wilderness of Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park: One of the stronger wolves leads the way; breaking trail and making a path through the snow for the others to follow. Everyone has a place. Everyone has a role. No wolf left behind. It had people thinking, “We humans can learn a lot from wolves.”

Except, of course, we humans don’t learn from “brother–sister wolf.” Instead, our society is waging a war on wolves.

aa wolf pack lomo

For example, in Alberta and British Columbia, wolves are protected and revered inside the national parks such as Wood Buffalo, Jasper, Yoho and Pacific Rim. But outside the parks, the wolf is hunted, slaughtered and poisoned ruthlessly – ostensibly to protect the even more rare and endangered caribou. But the real reason is the deep antipathy, even hatred that some people have towards wolves. Grownups are still afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.

And if the wild wolf is despised, the so-called “War on Terror” has demonised the human “Lone Wolf” among us. These days, it seems that every misfit is automatically suspect and every loner is a de facto terrorist in training. A Lone Wolf is no more a deviant or a devil than a woman in a niqab is a barbarian or a threat to Canadian values.

The Lone Wolf among us is someone who feels the strong need for independence, autonomy and solitude.

Some Things I’ve Learned


For the past few years, I’ve been part of a small group at a church in Jasper National Park.

AA Akela The Lone Wolf - The Two Jungle Books editRunning with such a pack already marks you as “odd.” Jasper’s earthly paradise is a place where people worship the Creation but have little use for the Creator. They may want “spirituality” but not “religion.” Yoga and Sunday brunch have long-since replaced liturgy and Communion.

And if you talk about “Alpha and Omega” here – people won’t immediately make the connection with the God who is “the Beginning and the End.” They will probably think you’re talking about an animated film starring “an unlikely pair of wolves.”

Paradise Lost


Living in a national park, I’ve learned some things about the wild wolves that live “outside the circle.”

All lone wolves were once part of a pack.  The lone wolves in the wilds are usually male, some are older males who been driven out from their pack – ostracized – by the younger males. Some are younger males who challenged for the leadership but failed – and were then cast out.  Some left in search of new territory, new opportunities. Some were part of a pack that disbanded as members moved on or passed away. Many of them long to return to the pack from which they were shunned, excommunicated.

The lone wolves who survive best are those that maintain a relationship with the pack; even if it’s a distant relationship. They follow the pack wherever it roams – sometimes even participating in the pack’s hunts and feeding on the leftovers from the kill. Such relationships benefit both the lone wolf and the pack.

Even a lone wolf needs others. A wolf can survive (for a time) on his own by scavenging and hunting small game. But his best chance for long-term survival is to rejoin the pack – or to find a female lone wolf for a mate and start a new pack.

Every pack needs a leader. Every leader needs a pack. Sometimes the Lone Wolf becomes the leader. And lone wolves can make the best leaders.

The Law of the Wolf Cub Pack

Wolf Cubs Centennial Crest
When I was a boy in Wolf Cubs (what they now call Cub Scouts), an adult leader was called an “Old Wolf.” The Leader of the Pack – just like in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – was called Akela.  The name means “Solitary; Alone.” That’s right; the leader of the pack was the Lone Wolf.

In Kipling’s stories (and in the re-tellings by scouting’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell) Akela is not only the leader of the pack. His is also the close friend and mentor of Mowgli, the orphaned “man cub” that is adopted into the wolf pack. Even when Mowgli is no longer a “man cub” but a full-grown adult, Akela remains a “Yoda” to Mowgli’s “Young Skywalker.”

Here in the enchanted forests of Alberta, often talked with my “Akela” about people who want “spirituality” but not “religion.” They want to belong, to feel connected – but not if it means someone telling them what to do and how to live.
AA Wolf Cub Handbook boost

My Akela, like Baden-Powell, sees no dichotomy between “spirituality” and “religion.”  For them, God – however you understand Him – is always a fundamental part of life.

Life in the pack means living by the law of the pack: doing your duty, respecting elders, putting others first and helping them – no matter what.

Even as a Lone Wolf (or “the Lone Wolf of the group”), I sometimes think that I learned “everything I needed to know” in Wolf Cubs; from Kipling, Baden-Powell and the elders of the pack:

Be Prepared. Do Your Best!

Always help others… and accept help from others. Mowgli – the Man Cub – was an orphan. He was different from the rest. But he lived and learned with the help of his adoptive parents as well as his teachers and guardians. They always had his back and helped him to find his place.

It’s a jungle out there. There will always be adversaries and foes. But courage, loyalty and love are stronger than any enemy.

You can’t be a cub forever. Eventually, the cub must grow up to be the Old Wolf.  There are even times when the Lone Wolf becomes the leader of the pack. And guess what? Sometimes lone wolves make the best leaders.

A leader gives his or her life to the pack. And the pack gives its life to the leader. They thrive and survive because they are part of each other.

Father Christmas wolf Jody Bergsma

The Christmas season is ended. Another year over. A new one just begun.

For many, now is when the darkness sets in, people may feel the impacts of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and – to quote Canadian musician and songwriter Bruce Cockburn – we’re “trying to keep the latent depression from crystallizing.”

This is the time of year when we need an Epiphany. Light in the Darkness.  A New Hope.

Long ago, in a land far, far away, there was a teacher who people said it was “The Light of The World.” He, in turn, said that his followers were the light of the world.

See the light.  Be the light.  To the spiritually minded, that Spirit Wolf in the Sky can be our Northern light in the darkness.

To survive, learn from the wolves.  

If you can, stay with the pack.

Even if you can’t live with them all the time, work with them.

If you’re not in a pack, BE the pack. Start your own pack by being with people you want to be with.

If you don’t have an Akela, BE Akela. Be a leader.

Who knows?  You could end up walking on water.

 

Journalist_Traveller_Writer_Photographer_Editor_Public Speaker_Bard_Troubador

Stephen is a freelance writer, public speaker and “lone wolf of the group” living on the edge of wilderness in Jasper National Park. He has worked in media for more than 25 years – including 8 years as an editor, producer and broadcaster in Taiwan. We invited Stephen to share his thoughts about this holiday time and the importance of belongingness and our search for acceptance. (This article first appeared December 31 2015 and updated January 6, 2016).

 

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What is Out of Pocket Emotions?

 

 


How It Works!

STEP 1 – Arrange for a complimentary phone interview. Individuals are free to ask questions of the Coach and it is a chance to get to know one another, see if it is a good fit as you find out more about  the benefits of personal life coaching. The Coach will answer any questions regarding fee structure, including savings available from hourly to monthly package; a sliding scale is also available, the point is to get started as soon as possible.

STEP 2 – On first assessment individuals will answer a short questionnaire this is to secure there are no medical concerns before agreeing to the Five-way Life Coaching Approach®  

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Love’s Emotions

Romeo and Juliet_1867_Ford Madow Brown_Whiteworth Art Gallery_The University of Manchester UK

Romeo and Juliet painted 1867 by Ford Madow Brown (1821-93), Whiteworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester UK

by Catherine DeAngelis

“Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake – it’s everything except what it is!”


(Act 1, scene 1)
William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

Oh that William Shakespeare certainly had something going on. And then present day researchers have something to say about it!

Were we taught life skills and love’s human emotions and conflict through Shakespeare especially to crave love so much to the point that we would die for it?

From the 17th to the 21st Century what are we teaching youth about human emotion and conflict and is it real?

Easy as it is to want to analyse Shakespeare’s poems and sonnets or plays like Hamlet or Macbeth and cite the omnipotent “to be or not to be,”  “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,”  and “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow.”

Shakespeare  revolutionized  human emotion and conflict simply by his dramatics, words and passion he weaved into his works. He brought to us the “why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it?”

Refraining from refuting scholars who have studied the works of Shakespeare indelibly, let us hugely celebrate the high school principals and teachers who year after year bring this mysterious Literary King into a teen’s mind and heart. They are deserving for making it part of a youth’s coming of age while trying to spring forward a sneak peek at the understanding of the complexities of love and human emotions.

How many recall the passionate teacher, provoked by an early morning’s lesson on Romeo and Juliet, “O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright” – as you frightfully sat, still unawake and withdrawn at your desk?  The teacher marched forward and stopped and stared while she bellowed “what does love mean TO YOU?”

Love, as twisted and confusing as the English language is, is diversely described as:

“deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and concern toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.  An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.  A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.  An expression of one’s affection.  A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.” (freedictionary.com)

Of course, is this the forum to argue if  Shakespeare should or should not be on the curriculum or address the impact of Shakespeare’s passion since the 17th century where his breath of his own personal love of man may be viewed differently now than it did back then.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Let’s marshall forward to the 21st century where our view of love may be focused more around what many Psychologists report. It can take between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone. And further they prove it has little to do with what is said, rather than 55% is through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of your voice, only 7% is through what we say. Scientists who love to investigate the power of ruling out something discovered there are 3 phases to falling in love because of how our hormones respond to the process: stage 1 – lust, stage 2 – attraction and stage 3-attachment.

Love  has lots to do with biochemistry.  Helen Fisher, PhD  is Biological Anthropologist and a Research Professor and member of the Center for Human Evolution Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet dating site, Chemistry.com, a division of Match.com.

We can only imagine Shakespeare walked the streets and relied on the day-to-day passions of his life’s loves.  However, Fisher’s life’s love is to conduct extensive research and has written five books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how our personality type shapes who we are and who we love.

Like Shakespeare, Fisher addresses the “need ” of  “why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it?”  She wants you to learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love.  She took her research team and looked at MRIs of people and studied them while in and out of love.

It’s okay to put Shakespeare aside and listen up, hear the less dramatic and engage youth, ourselves,  in understanding how love and all of its raw emotions can be expressed and understood more realistically and openly.


Sujen Man
 quotes this poem, as recited by an anonymous Kwakuitl Indian of Southern Alaska to a missionary in 1896, captures the excruciating pain of lost love. This poem is often recited by Helen Fisher, an expert on Romantic Love, in her talks.

Powerful Love Poem (1896)

Fire runs through my body with the pain of loving you
Pain runs through my body with the fires of my love for you
Sickness wanders my body with my love for you
Pain like a boil about to burst with my love for you
Consumed by the fire with my love for you
I remember what you said to me
I am thinking of your love for me
I am torn by your love for me
Pain and more pain
Where are you going with my love?
I am told you will go from here
I am told you will leave me here
My body is numb with grief
Remember what i have said, my love
Good bye, my love, good bye.~
 
The author acknowledges the diversity of our cultures and how the impact of identified and unidentified childhood traumas and stresses can affect love’s emotions and create conflict. Active measures need to be constantly assessed by educational leaders and politicians to ensure empathy and compassion are foremost in the understanding of how a brain loves with a pained heart.

Read more on the 10 Greatest Love Poems Ever Written as described by the American Society of Classical Poets and how English poetry has been in existence for at least 1,400 years.

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(Reposted February 14, 2018)

From the Heart

 

Love One Another
A Poem by Kahlil Gibran

(1883 – 1931)

Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.  Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf. 
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.  
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping; for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together; for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.  

Kahlil Gibran
A Man from the Heart…

 

Khalil Gibran, a man truly from the heart who spoke from his voice within. We remember him best as an artist, a poet, writer, who wrote books in Arabic that were translated to English stemming from as far back as 1800s.  He was of Lebanese origin, a scholarly man, ahead of his time, with a soul that today still illuminates the hearts and minds of many.

The Prophet was written in English by the Lebanese writer and published in 1923.  It’s poetic wisdom and universal message made it a modern classic now translated into more than 40 languages.

Khalil Gibran was known for igniting the world on fire with a new kind of creativity with his mystical prose, and known for his drawings  in a number of his books.   He earned his fame with his first art exhibition in Boston in the 1900s. His cousin known as Khalil George Gibran succeeded him in doing the same and came to author a book for his renowned godfather – Khalil Gibran His Life And World, Biography of the poet Gibran Kahlil Gibran [1883 – 1931].  Khalil George Gibran was Khalil Gibran’s cousin who himself is a notable sculptor, writer and artist.

Click here for your free download of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.

I grace Khalil Gibran today, because as a troubled youth, I wrote in journals given to me as a gift where throughout the blank pages, were etched words and drawings by Khalil. Inspired, he spoke to me, as if from some distant star he understood emotional pain, and helped to lift mine away. 

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