From the desk of a psychologist!

Posts tagged ‘Emotion’

Indisciplined Demons

 

If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in. ~ Dr. Louise Hart

This lead to me reading and working on understanding discipline and annotating it in a positive aspect. Authors, Psychologists,Researchers have shared their profound knowledge & experience with us. They have provided us with various ways for positive discipline. It is definitely insightful and empowering, gearing up with these useful tools.

Parents & educators feel ready & groomed to take the plunge. They, equipped with their new found understanding  start implementing these strategies to the tee but most of the time their skills & efforts go in vain. The real change in behaviour is a far cry from the expected guaranteed one. Often blame goes to the expert but the simple reason is our naivety in not being conscious of the relevant protocol.

Read books with a plethora of strategies and ways to positively discipline your kids or students but realized a major ingredient of a successful recipe missing from the best there. You expect individuals to implement the strategies but what happens to the flavors they are bringing with them. There can’t be a blank sheet as we are human beings with our individualities, our strengths & our challenges.

How do we expect to implement the strategies with our subjectivity?

Our life’s journey fill us up with resentments, anger, grief apart from tons of other emotions. We carry the baggage. If we aren’t able to identify and deal with the things in our baggage, our perspectives will be colored. We will deal with our children with these shaded emotions making the questionable behaviour worse if not better.

I feel the sharing on discipline and behaviour modifications are great but for doing so one needs to deal with one’s demons first. One has to think, if I have my own insecurities, how am I going to be non judgmental in my approach which is the biggest pillar of positive disciplining. hqdefault

I would say learn, imbibe, implement but be aware of your own challenges otherwise your education is futile. Your angels & demons live inside you, choose to excel or fail. When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

“We like Batman – we understand him, we suffer with him. On the other hand, we want to be Superman. But they’re conflicting philosophies. Let’s bring them together in one movie and see how we, as an audience, wrestle with our inner demons.”-Wolfgang Petersen

 

Building Tolerance

They say awareness is the key to fight any kind of epidemic, orthodox, illogical belief system & for that matter even our survival or any kind of success . The awareness & knowledge of the holiness of a cow in Featured imageone religion is as important as the significance of sacrificing a goat in other.

I was delighted to see my children being educated about the various Indian festivals in the same way
I was. They got Ramayana to read and I am sure this will give them great insight about how goodness prevails all.
Religion,one of the best ways to inculcate values in the young, impressionable minds.Teach them about Dusshera/Diwali, Eid, Bakried, Baisakhi, Christmas, Easter,Paryushana Parva, Mahavir Jayanti, Pesach, Shavout, Gahanbar….to name a few! Tell you honestly had to refer to google to find out about the main festivals of India ( I am not even talking about the world).
But to actually start thinking on these lines we have to deal with our demons first, our biases,prejudices & lack of awareness. Intolerance creeps out of ignorance.Education shouldn’t be limited to books. Lets create awareness which will gift us with tolerant, sensitive & openminded global young minds. A better me, us leading to a BETTER WORLD!!!

Colored Shaded Perception

“We perceive the world the way we see it, not the way it is” The Talmud

We wear shades every day. Shades, which color the way we look at the world. The world remains the same, yet we find it different each and everyday. Our emotions & experiences color our shades of perception.

If we are wearing a bright shade, the world looks brighter however it is dark and gloomy when our shades are changed to the dark colors. It’s interesting to observe how we perceive everything on the basis of the shade we are wearing on a particular day. The exactly same experience,situation & people could yield the opposite effect because of the difference in the shades worn. 2012-12-04 12.54.38

We are oblivious of these invisible shades and as a consequence try to find external reasons for our different feelings & emotions. We waste our time in changing the external setup without changing what’s inside ( & the source of our perception). It frustrates us that we changed so many things still the positive change is not happening,unaware of the true source.

Our social interactions are also very complicated as that brings together a lot of colors and shades which results in a totally new color each time mixed & matched. When we are not a part of the mixture we are able to see the shades and be objective and appreciative of its beauty. But when we are drenched in that color we need another eye to define the exact shade of the color for us!

Then how do we wear our best shades on each day that we are blessed with?

I know it is not possible to wear bright, colorful & cheerful shades everyday but being aware of this concept enables us to deal with situations.

When we are physically not well we take care not to get into something we are not able to do or which could weaken us more. The same should be true for our mental health. If we are aware that this day I am not wearing the best of my shades, we should avoid getting into situations which expose us to harmful rays and could push us into negative outputs.This knowledge would also help us in identifying the kind of shades the person/s we are dealing with is wearing.                      tumblr_muo3vdeOhp1qevqz6o1_500

Upgrade your self!

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way                                       199260_1944591455313_1258298182_32372566_4581018_n

I love this song. It sums it all. I am fine the way God has made me and should be proud of it.

Then why the world talks about changing? They say it’s never too late to change your life or your life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change and so on.

When you think about it in this way it is confusing, you get entangled in your thoughts.

Actually it is quite simple. We all are born in a certain way ( which is beautiful & perfect) but we need up gradation.

Think of it as a software which is inbuilt in your system but needs constant update otherwise it will be obsolete. You need to imbibe change to stay away from spam and run antivirus regularly.

We are born perfect but in our journey of life we catch a lot of viruses. These corrupt the system, that is why the need of CHANGE is there.

As a child we are pure, perfect and that’s our true self. As we grow our values, beliefs & attitudes are altered through our life’s experiences. We keep on putting layers on our true selves to hide our insecurities & challenges.

It’s time to stop, reflect, get rid of the many layers ( viruses) and accept our true beautiful self.

Trust me nothing is going to be more EMPOWERING!

True Essence of Beauty

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
Steve Maraboli

It’s not the men or society. Our insecurities, our need for approval & our struggle to fit in a certain type/model makes us vulnerable.

We starve ourselves to look exactly like the popular model all the boys talk about. It’s all over your daily newspaper supplement.

We show them we are helpless, to boost their egos, and make them feel superior. We are expected to behave and carry ourselves in a certain way and we oblige. We have forgotten who we really are; we have somehow perfectly fitted ourselves in the moulds we have been provided with.        article-2214227-139F4748000005DC-401_468x286

Let’s be honest, popular among boys are the girls who are dumb & beautiful. And why not so, smart women comfortable in their skin, makes Them uncomfortable… that’s competition right?

Sadly, we women are unable to understand this simple fact. Without using our brains, we jump in the rat race.

Some of you would say that the condition is not that grave and may be you are right too. But I definitely would like to share one of the random Facebook posts which made me think even more about the intensity of the condition.
The piece I am referring to talked about patriarchy.

It talked about how women silently are becoming an integral part of destructing their own stature. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, gives the interests of boys and men a so called approval over our bodily integrity and dignity.

This epidemic of us pulling down ourselves is subtle, gradual, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.

Let them see what a woman looks like.

They may not have ever seen one before.
You are a woman.
Skin and bones.
Veins and nerves.
Hair and sweat.

And know this:

Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.
Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.
You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.
– Sarah Kay

The world of duality: Coexistence of Good & Bad

 

The topic for this post came to my mind after the feedback I got on my earlier posts. They were in extremes. Either people loved it or disliked it completely. I would be honest and say it did hurt but then the positives were too strong to help me deal with the criticism. This whole process made me think about, if facing a bad feedback is so painful then why this painful emotion exists.

The answer lies in the Duality of this world. Nothing in this world exists without its opposite.

If there is GOOD, there is BAD;                              

If there is a DAY, there is NIGHT;

If there is SWEET, there is SOUR;

If there is SOFT, there is HARD;

If there is a FRIEND, there is a FOE;

If there is HAPPINESS, there is PAIN.

Our experiences with this dual world actually make us strong. The appreciation for the good things also comes when we go through the hard facts of life. How could you even imagine, dwelling in the sweetness of your success if you have never tasted failure or understanding peace with total absence of wars?

I have seen so many people ( and I’ll include myself in it), without complaining going through all the positive experiences in this world and the moment life presents them with a challenge, they say ‘ LIFE IS NOT FAIR.’ Actually it very much is, it is just that when we are going through the positive time flies, while going through pain, every minute seems like eternity. This makes us think that our life is full of only tough moments.

Duality exists within us too. No one is white or black. We all are grey. We are not totally good or bad but a mixture of both. We have our phases of light and darkness. We have our own share of right and wrong choices but that is the building block of who we actually are.

“In order to eat, you have to be hungry. In order to learn, you have to be ignorant. Ignorance is a condition of learning. Pain is a condition of health. Passion is a condition of thought. Death is a condition of life.”
― Robert Anton WilsonLeviathan

Non Suicidal Self Injury, Please don’t refer as Self Mutilators ( Cutters)

Tina had a friend who used to show up with different kinds of marks on her hands or feet. This friend used to really cover her body well, which Tina presumed to be because of religious reasons or parental pressure.Sometimes, they resembled burnt marks, while most of the time they were cut marks.Tina used to think that she has a friend, who is accident prone but after a few years she started connecting the dots. She understood that there was something not right with her friend. Tina started researching and from there she came to know about ‘ NSSI’.

Now, because of the lack of research in this field there are different terms floating and people use it as synonyms. Actually there is a very minor difference in them, let’s try to understand them in a better way:

Self Injury is the act of physically hurting yourself on purpose without the intent of committing suicide. It is a method of coping during an emotionally difficult time that helps some people temporarily feel better because they have a way to physically express and release the tension and the pain they hold inside. In other people hurting themselves produces chemical changes — endorphins, which are the same chemicals that cause a “runners high” — in their bodies that make them feel happier and more relaxed.

Emotionally or verbally punishing yourself isn’t self-injury, instead it’s what a lot of people call negative self-talk.

Unprotected sex, getting a piercing or tattoo for the pain of the act, starving yourself, etc. Those all are self-destructive but they’re not necessarily self-injury.

Emotional Cutters are people who injure themselves on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object .

Self-harm includes self-injury ( as described above) and self-poisoning and is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions.

The most common form of self-harm is skin-cutting but self-harm also covers a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to, burning, scratching, banging or hitting body parts, interfering with wound healing, hair-pulling and the ingestion of toxic substances or objects.

I thought for this article I’ll use the term ‘ Self Mutilation’ but then I understood that the term used is actually ‘ Non-Suicidal Self Injury ( NSSI). Aaron D. McClelland rightly points out, ” The term “self-mutilation” is an antiquated and misapplied descriptor for NSSI  in that it speaks to intent, however, within the vast majority of those who self-injure, their intent is for affect regulation, NOT to cause disfigurement. Many in the self-injury support community consider the term “self-mutilation” to be derogatory, hurtful and only adds to the mythology of the disorder. Most prefer the term self-injury or self-harm.”

In this post we are going to use NSSI but the title will also carry self mutilation because there are very few who understands and knows the proper term.

If you are one of those who have not seen or heard about it the first question that will crop up in your mind is going to be

” Why anyone will do so, as in harm oneself?”

This is an excerpt from a NSSI – “Because of all the abuse I began to self injury myself. It was a way to forget all the pain that was on the inside of me eating me alive. I first began doing this about the age of 8. I would take a hammer and beat my hands with it or take a hot iron and iron my hands or stomach. That worked for a little while and the burns and bruises were easy to cover up. As time passed and the abuse kept on, that didn’t seem like it was enough anymore so then I began doing the cutting along with the burning and beating. To see the wounds…made the pain inside not seem so real. You may say didn’t it hurt? My answer would be NO I didn’t feel anything. because the pain inside was just too intense and I had numbed myself to ALL PAIN. I didn’t love anyone, not even myself!”

As aptly contributed by Manjeet, ” Studies conducted by Nock and Prinstein (2004, 2005) suggest that there are four primary reason for engaging in NSSI: 1) to reduce negative emotions, 2) to feel “something” besides numbness or emptiness, 3) to avoid certain social situations, and 4) to receive social support. Although instances of all of these reasons for NSSI occur, a common misconception is that NSSI is primarily a form of social manipulation. In reality a number of studies have found that the primary reason for NSSI is reason number one: to reduce negative emotion. This seems like such a bizarre reason! How is it that inflicting physical pain or injury could be used to deal with emotional pain? Despite how paradoxical this may seem, people most often report the following reasons for NSSI: to stop bad feelings, to relieve feelings of aloneness, emptiness, or isolation, to distract from other problems, to decrease feelings of rage, to release tension, and to control racing thoughts. .”

Candance shares, “I’ve worked with adolescents in the foster care system in Orange County, California, for the past 17 years and most often teens who engage in self-mutilation (cutting) are not trying to kill themselves. Instead they find superficial cutting relieves in internal emotional pain they are feeling. It’s like releasing a valve that is built up with pressure, as the emotional pain disolves and afterward they feel better. The children who tend to engage in this behavior are often the ones who won’t talk to others about their pain or problems, but rather let it build up internally, which leads to the cutting. This behavior is also contagious in that child who witness a peer engaging in the behavior may try it as well.”

Larraine emphasizes, “I too work with young people (11-19) who self harm and I with agree Candace, that yp say self harming helps alleviate the internal pressure that builds up around issues they struggle to deal with. My experience here in England is that YP do talk to peers but issues relating to family, peers or educational expectations can far exceed their ability to cope. unfortunately this can and has led to suicide. Generally though self harming is used as a coping mechanism and I find that once we establish a non-judgmental .caring safe environment YP can move forward.”

Some people develop NSSI through observational learning; they learn it from somebody else or through the media. The chances of most people actually seeing another person self-injury are very slim, but in places such as psychiatric hospitals and prisons the odds are much higher. Since self-injury has become a part of the vernacular, part of society’s everyday knowledge, the incidence of NSSI, especially amongst teens, has exploded. Where once a self-injurer may been alone in their social group it’s common for teenagers to have friends who actively self-injure or have self-injured in the past.

Diane Sue, PhD. shares, ” I have found that many of those who persistently self-injure have underlying conditions, especially depression, anxiety and sometimes PTSD. Often there are few adults in their lives they can turn to for support.”

My research and experience has made me realize one thing that NSSI is not limited to any age group or gender. The experience of NSSI varies in different individuals. Chris White, Ed.D. says, ” Interestingly, I have observed a major change in who is engaging in this behavior over the past few years. For most of the 27 years I have been practicing, cutters were almost always women who had experienced fairly severe physical or sexual abuse as children and had begun cutting in their 20’s or 30’s. Now, I am seeing much younger girls, as well as some boys/young men, begin cutting in their early teens or even pre-adolescence, who do not have histories of trauma! Some even talk of having “cutter clubs” in their high schools where kids trade “tips” around this behavior.”

Basically the purpose is not killing or hurting oneself but it is due to lack of healthy strategies to deal with your pain. I researched and asked a lot of professionals from this field for help. From the studies and contributions from people working in this field I have tried to collaborate some strategies :

  • You need to find a healthy vent for your pain & problems.
  • It is fine to find strength from within you, but its destructive to accumulate the pain you are going through internally.There is a critical difference here, which we need to understand ; Being a person who is not talkative is amazing if you are happy with it, but if you are going through a phase where you need help, you need to gather the courage to seek it.
  • We need to understand the difference between positive & negative peer pressure. Just because someone, we consider as our style icon, is doing a certain thing, it is not necessary that we should follow them blindly. Sometimes it starts as a cool thing but stays with you forever, mutilating yourself becomes a habit which goes out of your hands.The origin of self-injury is often difficult to determine or understand. Many people are unable to remember where they first got the idea of hurting themselves, and when they actually began to self-injury.
  • If you know someone or a caretaker of a person going through this syndrome, you need to establish a non judgmental & caring atmosphere.
  • You need to be very vigilant for the early signs of injury. Ask questions and seek answers. People who self-injury usually begin by cutting themselves with a knife, razor blade, or other sharp object. From there the person tries other forms of self-injury, such as burning, hitting, etc., until they find their preferred method.
  •  If dissatisfied, bring in a person who could help. The best way you can help a person going through NSSI is connecting him to a therapist. You need an expert here because often there is a lot of underlying reason behind the NSSI behavior.
  • Allow the expression of emotions in a healthy way. Don’t bottle up inside. Often it is the fear or disturbing of expressing it which leads to self damaging path. Sometimes you also learn unhealthy way of showing your emotion, seek proper care if you are one of them in the form of a support group.
  • Don’t be scared of changes in life. Change is growth, though it is feared by most as it is also the unknown. It is being seen that the most cases of NSSI is being reported or observed in teens or mid twenties. It could be due the fact that in this phase of your life you go through a lot of changes.The best way to deal with it to be aware and ready for the new.
  • Feel the pain: Running away from your pain is never the solution.  NSSI is way for short lived relief. You need to live your feeling. There is a whole series on pain: Feel the pain, live the pain and relieve the pain which could help you with this step.
  • Do accept that there is no Shame in what you are doing. It is quite understandable that till now this was the only coping skill you had but realize one thing that it is not a healthy one. Deal with your feeling of shame and seek help.
  • For a primary self check examine your thoughts by asking yourself direct questions like; “What did you intend to accomplish through ___________?” , “What was the point to __________?”, “How did you expect people to react?”, “What did you expect to happen if you didn’t do it?”.

I would like to compare NSSI to an addiction to a depressant. You start with a feeling of euphoria, which fades away leaving you more depressed. You chase the “first time high”, sadly that is unattainable.

In the end I want to say that there are more ways of coping, you just need to look for it!
P.S. A special thanks to all those who took some time out and helped with this article.

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