“An Individual Develops Courage By Doing Courageous Acts”

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“An individual develops courage by doing courageous acts” — Aristotle

Fear is your brain’s pre-programmed response to something scary.  It is completely natural for a spooky thought or image to be imprinted in your head, and make it hard for you to sleep. Small amounts of fear are positive for your health, but when it takes over it can interfere with your peace and happiness. Whether you’re afraid because of a movie, a natural disaster, or even spiders, there are ways of coping.

”Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

Mark Twain

The magic happens outside your comfort zone! Well-meaning … is fraught. So what’s the scientific case to be made for doing things that scare you? … “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get … You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me.

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I begin writing this post, and then stop. I return to it the next day, only to freeze up again so that I can watch Netflix or get some ice cream or even better to do something “productive” like clean my house or catch up on sleep or read some bullshit book about how if you just think happy thoughts and watch Teletubbies your fear will go away.

I’m engaging in a dance of stupidity, but I feel that I can’t help myself. Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared because I’ve had a mammoth amount of psychological, cultural and environmental conditioning. I spent my first few decades agonizing over what people thought of me and living a recipe comprised of one part action, five parts hiding, so it’s not hard to see how I ended up giving years of my life to everything except what was most important to me, wondering what I was doing with my life.

I was relinquishing my power repeatedly, day by day, and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it.

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I had some great “help” with this growing up. Some of my earliest memories involve being ostracized for living with a disability, wanting to die in the wake of devastating seizures, and fighting periods of debilitating depression.

As a kid, I was too afraid to do anything about it. On the surface, I appeared to be fine, but internally I was a time bomb. My life became a cataclysm of shame. I had periodic successes—moments of authenticity —but I did all I could to hide that from the world. I gave a fuck about everything I didn’t need to give a fuck about and not nearly enough of a fuck about what really mattered.

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But not now. I no longer really give a shit about what people think of me, most of the time. But here’s the kicker: I’m not in a position to say this because I’m strong, I can say this with confidence because I’m weak, and I know I’m weak.

Many people ask me how I’ve managed to create a meaningful, “successful” life, despite my losses and the daily physical and neurological challenges I face. My responses are decidedly unsexy: I’ve found power in my vulnerability, strength in my weaknesses, and resilience in my trials. I’ve forced myself to become disciplined and focused, through thousands of hours of tedious, hair-splitting practice, and by intentionally putting myself in uncomfortable, constraining environments. 

I speak to people about their struggles all the time, and the most common thread that binds most people’s adversities together is fear: fear of being judged, fear of failing, fear of abandonment, and on and on.

 

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One of my biggest issues with the personal development space is that the vast majority of responses to questions surrounding fear are grounded in mindless platitudes. People are told that if they just take responsibility for their fear or tell themselves how awesome they are every morning or follow so-and-so’s seven steps to confidence, their lives will be transformed and they’ll conquer fear forever.

Bullshit. We’ll never conquer fear. It’s literally hardwired into our brains and serves a very important evolutionary purpose. Unfortunately, we also happen to live in an age of rampant loneliness and individualism, which exacerbates the usage of our favorite cocktail of idiocy: platitudes. In so doing, we pathologize fear in a way that’s not entirely dissimilar to how we pathologize grief.

We’re happy to acknowledge people’s fears when they seem to “beat” them, but when people are paralyzed by fear we’re much quicker to ridicule and marginalize them; treating them as if there’s something wrong with their fears. This creates an ethos of humiliation, which is passed down from generation to generation in a cycle of shameful insanity.

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This ethos is horrific because it essentially says if you can’t beat your fears, you’re a loser, a coward, or a weakling. You’re not entitled to people’s respect, so piss off. This isn’t just cruel, it’s ridiculous. Why? Because our abandonment of the fearful only exacerbates the fear. And since we’re all afraid, it’s no wonder we’re all beginning every year “resolving” to move beyond our terrors only to come to the end of the year and find that we’re just as scared as we were 12 months prior. I’m not very prescriptive in my writings, because I’d much rather challenge you to think and come to your own conclusions, and the reality is that there aren’t any clear-cut answers to these types of questions.

This is ultimately what leads to our killing our fears. The caveat is that we’ll be killing them for the rest of our lives. And the only way to do that is via action in the face of fear. After all, what is courage if not the decision to take meaningful action when fear is smiling at you?  They’re simple, but not easy, so if you want these to have any real effect on your life, you actually have to do them. I’ve radically transformed my life, and I return to them regularly.

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” Admit Your Role In A Failed Relationship ” Without Blaming …

James R. Eads http:/www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com;

”Blaming and shaming are like a cancer in a relationship. If they are allowed to live and spread, the entire relationship can slowly wither away and die.”

When it comes to placing blame in a relationship, it’s almost always easier to see the faults in our partner than in ourselves. One of the problems with couples pointing fingers is that usually both parties are right, and both are wrong. Every person is full of flaws and certain ways that we attempt to defend ourselves that push us away from other people. These self-protective defenses come out even stronger when we get close to someone, and old feelings start to get triggered in us in ways we don’t necessarily expect and aren’t entirely conscious of.

The many ways we get hurt throughout our lives help shape our defenses. Negative past experiences, particularly those from our childhood, leave us on guard as adults. Our defenses may warn us not to trust or open ourselves up to someone else. Or they may tell us to cling on for dear life, because we may be abandoned at any minute. The key to thriving in a relationship is getting to know and challenge our own defenses. Instead of focusing all our attention on our partner’s flaws, it’s important to look at our own limitations. How am I reacting to my partner? Am I misperceiving him/her through the filter of my “critical inner voice?” Am I projecting negative characteristics of my early caretakers onto him/her?

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In improving any relationship, the focus should always be on empowering yourself. You can only change your part in the equation, but that gives you a lot of power. So what can you do to take charge and change the behaviors that are holding you back from getting closer? How can you take actions that will sustain passion, love, and respect in your relationship?

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Don’t build a case :-When a conflict arises, it’s easy to fuel the fire with all kinds of proof of our partner’s character flaws. One morning of forgetting to take out the trash can build into a full-blown criminal case proving our partner guilty of insufferable laziness. We may start cataloging every incident in which he or she forgot to do this or that. Case-building is a huge problem in any relationship. Once we start to see our partner a certain way, we often start perceiving (or misperceiving) their actions through a negative filter. We may start interpreting innocent comments as critical or casual behaviors as rejecting. In these cases, we can either feed our feelings of blame or try to keep a more balanced perspective about what’s going on. Again, we should try to recognize if and when we might be projecting onto our partner or acting on harmful, yet familiar patterns from our past.

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Drop It :-Once the blame starts going back and forth and escalating out of control, it becomes almost impossible to resolve who did what or who’s at fault. The truth is, there is never a winner in these arguments. “You may win the battle, but you will lose the war.” Keep perspective on what’s important. If your goal is really to be close again, then sometimes it’s worth just dropping the past, putting down your guard, and simply being nice to each other. Unilateral disarmament can be a first step to getting back the easy and loving flow of feelings between you and your partner. This is different from glossing over or denying your problems. It’s a matter of dropping your own reactive defenses and stopping the blame game. Ultimately, you will be able to have an honest, adult discussion, where you are open to giving and receiving feedback from a compassionate and calm place.

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Calm yourself down :-Relationships trigger us in ways we rarely expect. Many things can set us off, especially when defenses are at work. A partner’s bad mood or withholding attitude can throw us back into a primal state, particularly when it reminds us of painful dynamics from our past. Though, in the moment, our instinct may be to fight fire with fire, this clearly won’t resolve the problem. When we feel triggered, we should focus on relaxing before reacting. We can better manage our partner’s temper by calming ourselves down first, then approaching them. Issues will always arise between two, independent-minded people, and it’s easy to get critical of someone who we know well enough to witness their weaknesses. When trouble starts brewing, expect the rush of critical thoughts to come into your head, roaring through like a passing train. Then, know that you can decide whether or not to jump on the train.

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Reflect on your patterns :-Once we’ve calmed down and stepped away from a heated situation with our partner, we can start to reflect. When we get triggered, it’s important to take notice of the moment and ask why. Does my reaction seem like an overreaction? Could it have anything to do with my past? Look for the thing you hate the most that your partner does and ask yourself what you do right before that.

We can think about what sets us off and what patterns are at play in our relationships. In doing so, we can accept that every couple is just two people with two sovereign minds and two stories that made us who we are today. We can have respect for those differences and compassion when confronting each other’s defenses.

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Have compassion :-As we start to identify our defenses as well as those of our partner, we get to know them better and to understand why they are the way they are. When we understand the reasons why we both get triggered, we have more compassion for ourselves and our partner. We can further foster compassion by always aiming to see the scenario from our partner’s eyes and understand how they view the situation. We can adopt an empathetic perspective toward what they perceived, even if they weren’t entirely accurate in their perceptions. As an exercise, when our partner tells us how they feel, we should try to play back what they communicate to us to show that we understand how they’re feeling and to see if we have it right. If we can align our state with theirs, we are essentially on the same team sharing the same goal of getting closer in the end.

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Be open to feedback :-As we start a dialogue, it’s essential that we are open to what our partner has to say. Feedback is not something dangerous that we ought to avoid. As an adult, we cannot be crushed or devastated by feedback. Rather, it can be a gift that challenges us to live honestly and that opens us up to the possibility for real change. Don’t be defensive when your partner gives you feedback. Look for the kernel of truth in what they’re saying, as it can benefit you far more than arguing every detail.

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Communicate what you felt:- Once we are calm and we’ve given our partner the chance to express their perceptions, we can explain how we felt without placing blame or feeling victimized. We can offer feedback ourselves in a way that is direct, yet compassionate. It’s important to communicate how we feel in our interactions without acting like we are being wronged. We should avoid using victimized language or making generalized statements. For example, rather than saying, “You made me feel terrible when you forgot to call me. What were you even doing? You ruined my whole night. You always disappoint me,” you could say, “I noticed that I started feeling insecure when you didn’t call me. I think I tend to use those situations to feel bad about myself. I’d like to work on feeling more secure in myself. And it would mean something to me for you to make an effort to stay in touch.”

Once we start to see patterns in ourselves, we can challenge ourselves to act in ways we respect and repair when we make a mistake. When we act out based on our defenses, we should apologize directly to our partner. When we stop placing blame, we shift our focus inward. We can start to differentiate from destructive behaviors we’ve adopted by identifying them, understanding where they come from, and acting differently in the situation. By laying down our arms and taking power over ourselves, we give our relationship its best chance of remaining equal, passionate, and fulfilling.