Archive for Coping (psychology)

Being Brave

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2016 by tivaniam

The most repeated phrase in my holy text is, “don’t be afraid”. Even now, even after all the big moves I have made. Fear it seems, is the predominant reason for any of us to remain stuck. We all have fear. Fear is necessary in some instances and serve to protect us. In other instances though, we cannot allow fear to govern our decision making or let it prevent us from making breakthroughs in our lives.

We spend too much of time wishing and hoping. Wishing things could change or hoping for a miracle. Fear prevents us from listening to our internal whisperings and longings to be brave and do something different. Those whisperings end up becoming a roar if ignored, and most often that roar happens when you’re lying in a heap on your bathroom floor. Why do we need to wait for rock bottom in order to make that move? Surely the drama is not needed? I speak from personal experience here. Meltdowns happened because I ignored the inner voice and then landed on my bathroom floor bartering with God to make the pain go away.

For twenty years I heard a voice telling me, “You’re meant to be a writer”. I ignored the whisperings until it became a white noise that I got so used to hearing, I lived by its rhythm. Five years ago, that voice was screaming at me to be different, to make a change. I was so unhappy doing what was the “right” thing. It was also terribly inconvenient as I was a single mum with two kids and being a writer was scary. One morning, I woke up and resigned from my corporate career that made me miserable. I studied journalism and got to writing. I was not impressive. I garnered no attention. I got lots of rejection emails from magazines and editors who were not interested in my work. I was a novice writer and made no money from writing. But my soul was screaming. It was doing a dance of joy every single time I put pen to paper. And so I pushed through. And then my blog got noticed and one editor decided to publish me in her digital magazine. Then another. Then another in print. Then another newspaper. Now, five years after those rejections, I am published on many platforms, have a day job as a writer and am now busy with the manuscript for my first book.

Being in a state of flow has allowed me to sit with my fear but not be reduced by it. I have walked away from marriages, relationships, jobs and people that no longer serve me – some of them amidst harsh criticism and judgment. As women we HAVE to be brave. We have to train ourselves to listen to our inner voice and trust it. I know the amount of energy that is required to be true to myself and what that actually means. Therefore I know how hard it can be. I know the struggle of the unknown. But I REFUSE to allow women to shrink themselves. It is not okay to remain in bad marriages or relationships or careers thinking that you will not survive with the alternative. You WILL survive being alone. You WILL survive as a single mother. You WILL survive with less money, doing something that makes you come alive. You need to trust yourself and believe in your inherent strength and divinity and light – something that is in ALL of us. Not some of us.

The thing about rock bottom is, you are forced to get real. And the truth hurts. Badly. But that is how life lessons go. We always know exactly what to do. Always. Our heart and heads are often not aligned, but our feelings reveal the truth. That is the indicator of what is right and wrong in your life and where changes need to be made. We get too comfortable in the realm of “not knowing what to do”, but we always know. Always!

Sometimes that knowing, means you have to risk everything and yes, some people will hate it. Some people will never understand or forgive you. Some people may walk away from you. You may walk away from the situation, whatever it may be, with a battered heart. But remember this, if you are afraid to be true, the alternative is to stay stuck in the same bullshit death swamp that you’ve been stuck in FOR YEARS.

And that is not living. That is existing. It’s time to be brave. The time is now.

Being Present

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by tivaniam

Most of us, if we’re really lucky, get to experience a profound revelation after a traumatic or otherwise difficult life experience. We do the hard work to help us recover and own our mistakes and move forward. Equipped with useful information and with the best intentions of participating fully, passionately and harmoniously with the world, we enter into a new realm of spiritual existence.

We all know that there is no meritocracy in this world and bad things do happen to good people. So when shit happens, as it inevitably does, all of the good intentions and useful knowledge do little to circumvent the spiral into chaos within our mind.

It may be difficult to remain positive when life kicks you in the ass and your plans get derailed, but, remaining positive is a choice – something I personally have to condition my mind and heart into believing, every moment of every day.

These are the tools that work for me, which I share with you.

Always believe that the view from the factory is exactly the same as the view from the ivory tower.

In other words, believe that you already possess every single thing you need. And you will want for nothing.

Support comes in many forms. Wake up and pay attention.

I had my heart broken by a person that I thought was my best friend. So believe me, trusting people is not easy. But if you pay attention, you do see that people actually do reveal themselves to you from the beginning, but as fallible humans, we see what we want to see. I have learnt though, that there are genuinely kind and supportive people in this world who are selfless. But, you get what you give. Treat people with contempt and anger, and that is what you will get in return. Demonstrate love in every way – irrespective of how it is received – and you always get back love in return. I have learnt this lesson several times over, and I am a believer of it completely. I have received support in different ways, giving me exactly what I needed to help me cope with whatever situation I found myself in.

Breathe.

Sounds simplistic, but it’s actually harder than it sounds. Too often our minds are consumed with worry, pressure, stress and ‘doing’ that we forget how to be still. I have discovered the therapeutic benefits of removing myself from life for a few moments each day and finding a secluded spot to shut my eyes and breathe. One minute is all you need. The oxygen that reaches your brain has the most profound effect on your frame of mind.

Dance

I used to be the eternal wallflower. Too stiff to move freely, always consumed with what people would think or say about me to be free enough to dance. I have recently been reminded that life is not an episode of “SA’s Got Talent”. I don’t need to be good at it to be able to know intrinsically, how to move. If you want to test this theory, listen to “Can you feel it” by the Jackson Five and see what happens to your body instinctively. Be free to move as you did when you were a child. The benefits of this can’t even be verbalised. It’s a feeling where words do no justice.

Whatever you focus on, you create more of. Live a life of gratitude and abundance would surely follow.

 

 

 

Ray Rice and the ‘Shock’ Video

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by tivaniam

Video footage of NFL star, Ray Rice, pounding his fiancée in an elevator has gone viral in recent weeks and caused an outcry within NFL and the American public in general. The incident which happened in February and was dismissed then as a ‘mild physical altercation’ has since proven to be severe as footage revealed Rice dragging the limp body of his unconscious fiancée (whom he has since married) out of an elevator. Viewers described this as ‘shocking’.

What is shocking to me is the uproar this has created simply because the victim in question happened to be engaged to and then married a professional footballer. What about the countless number of women who are beaten to a pulp daily by their less than famous partners? Everyday women with everyday monsters parading as men? A few months ago, a random South African woman made headlines for being stabbed 50 times by her estranged husband and left for dead in an office park. The story, encapsulated in less than ten paragraphs was visible for a day and then faded into obscurity. This was someone’s mother, daughter, sister and friend. A few weeks later, a woman was set alight by her drunken husband in a domestic dispute. She encountered 90 degree burns to her entire body and is now left in a vegetative state. This newspaper article made the third page of a publication and again, lasted for just a day.

The prevalence of abuse against women, despite the activism that we as a society promote, is still on the increase. One punch to one woman is too many. The question I find myself asking is what sort of men are we raising? The paradox of being successful in a career but wanting to be dominant within a relationship is something I don’t understand. It is reported that about 70% of women will experience violence in their lifetime, yet this incident with Rice proved to be ‘shocking’ to audiences – simply because people witnessed it personally, having seen the leaked video. Does this make violence more real? Do we need to physically see a woman being beaten to appreciate the full horror of it?

 

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As a mother to a little boy, I have a role to play in ensuring that he is raised to respect women in every way and form. The way a child lives will ultimately determine their moral compass – children learn what they live. Stop the cycle of abuse by ensuring that we raise men that are secure within themselves to not feel emasculated by strong women or who feel the need to resort to violence to intimidate women. More than that, women who are trapped within these abusive relationships need to know that there are ways to get out. You are worth more and deserve more than being dragged like a piece of luggage on a dirty elevator floor, followed by a half-arsed apology.

On Getting Older

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 17, 2013 by tivaniam

I have developed an irritating habit since turning thirty. I feel the need to be introspective ALL THE TIME. With my birthday approaching, I have naturally felt the need to analyse every life lesson I had the misfortune of learning in the past year. It’s exhausting, painful and annoying. Not to mention the fact that I am incapable of having fun as a result of my constantly elevated stress levels. Unwinding and freeing my mind of these burdens are fruitless because I don’t know HOW to unwind. I don’t drink or smoke or do recreational drugs. I don’t party or socialise (I am a mum, see). I don’t gym. I can’t indulge in emotional eating because then I would analyse why I had to unwind using food as a coping mechanism! See my predicament? Out of my 99 problems, I have discovered that these moments of introspection often result in some profound lesson that leaves me feeling like a wise old owl, and one surely cannot be wise and not impart the knowledge! That feels sacrilegious. These are my lessons for the year.

“Family” has taken on a new meaning. It is better to live a life alone, authentically, than live a life surrounded by people who do nothing but bring you down and who don’t have your best interests at heart. “Family” are the people who invest in me and offer me their infinite love, kindness, compassion, support and lack of judgment. Those people are not blood relatives but people who think I am worthy enough to make an effort for and whose love far surpasses anything my blood relatives could offer me.

“Wealth” means more than just having lots of money. Money cannot buy happiness or good health. But, as the saying goes, “it’s more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle”. Financial stress is the ultimate test within a marriage and few survive. I know people who have chosen to end their lives rather than live in financial ruin. The mistakes I have made are too many to mention but what I have learnt this year is that living basically, removing excess and making wise decisions go a long way. I am far from being out of the woods, but I will make informed decisions and never spend senselessly again.

“Sometimes you just gotta let things slide”. This is particularly hard for me because I am merciless when I am hurt. I feel the need to always say exactly what I feel and sometimes that isn’t necessary. I have learnt that I’d rather be happy than right and backing down from a fight sometimes requires more strength and courage than fighting to the death.

The most important lesson I have ever learnt and I get reminded of, year after year, is the fact that nothing is insurmountable. We really are stronger than we think.

So here’s to another year of self-discovery.

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