Thursday, September 25, 2014

Energy Zapper #6: Information Saturation! Take The Quiz!! 3 Tips for Staying Recharged!!

We are discussing Energy Zappers! What are they? Habits or social behaviors which are a part of our everyday life, but unfortunately they do very little to enhance our sense of well-being! Why? Because they deplete us! Take a look at our five precious zappers - Giving Advice , Drama , and Worry , Negativity, and   Shame - Part One and Shame Part Two - before reading our final Energy Zapper #6: Information Saturation! After having two serious blogs on Shame, let's have a bit of fun with this one! Before we get started, please take this little Information Saturation Quiz! The only requirement is that you are honest! And no one else needs to see your answers!

Information Saturation

Answer yes for 'almost always' and no for 'mostly never'. If a question does not apply to you, just skip it. Okay, here we go.

1. I am on more than 5 social networking sites or accounts?                                            Yes          No

2. I post, tweet, upload, share information, etc. at least 10 times per day.                        Yes           No

3. I do not read most of the information on my connections' posts, tweets,etc.               Yes          No

4. On my home pages like Facebook, I scroll down quickly or skip many 
    of the posts.                                                                                                                    Yes          No

5.  I follow a few blogs, post, tweets, etc. faithfully, but I delete or ignore the rest.         Yes          No

6.  I will usually like a post to save time and to show I care, but I usually
     leave no comment.                                                                                                         Yes         No

7.  I have some connections, friends, or groups where I never read their stuff.                Yes         No

8. I am more interested in what I have to share and the responses to what I share
    than what others are posting.                                                                                           Yes        No

9. I find myself getting frustrated with my connections who flood my home
    pages with constant posting, tweeting, etc. of all their stuff.                                          Yes         No

10. There are times where I feel exhausted or depleted or saturated sorting
      through all the information on my social networking sites or accounts!                      Yes         No


Total up your answers!  

# of Yes _________
# of No   _________

We'll interpret the results shortly and give you a few tips for staying recharged, but for now, take a deep breath and know you are not alone in this time of Information Saturation! Why? What is happening? This is important, and I believe it is really pretty simply. Read carefully.

Our supply of information has exceeded our demand for it! 

Let me say it again.

Our supply of information has far exceeded our demand for it!

Disseminating Information!

It is so cool that we live in a time where most people who have access to technology are not only able to gather information but they can also disseminate it! In some respects, technology has erased the barrier between instructors and learners. We all have a voice! We all have something to offer! And it is just a click, tweet, post, or upload away! The problem is - if we are all so busy disseminating information, who has the time or energy to pay attention to it? Yikes!!  Not many of us!

Let's get down to business and interpret our results of the Information Saturation Quiz! Here goes!

# of Yes answers!

0 - 5:  You seem to have found a happy medium in your tech life! Your supply and demand ratio is in balance! Stay energized and keep implementing healthy tech boundaries!!

6 - 8:  Ouch!! You may be feeling slightly depleted and/or frustrated by the flow of information coming your way! Shore up your tech boundaries by checking out the tips for getting more in balance with your supply and demand ratio!  You'll feel less saturated and more invigorated!

9 - 10 : Yikes!!  Take a tech break and regroup!! Your supply of information is saturating your being! You need to pay attention to your demand (needs) and get re-energized  now!  Go directly to 3 Tips for Staying Recharged and begin implementing your tech boundaries!

3 Tips for Staying Recharged!

1. Tip One: Less is more!
Clean Out!

Take a  couple of days and clean out your sites and connections! Just like you would a cluttered closet, toss out the unused, worn out, or irrelevant items! Who cares of you follow 2000 people on Twitter if you never read their tweets? And then, readjust your settings so that the number of notifications on all your sites serve your purposes and lifestyle. You should not be spending more time deleting stuff than reading stuff! Make your connections mean something! Remember - less is more!

2. Tip Two: Quality - not quantity!  

This is a tricky one. This means you take time to evaluate what, why, and how often you are posting, tweeting, uploading, etc. your stuff. Remember, your connections are getting tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed by too much information being posted, just like you are!  And, they are ignoring it or deleting it - just like you! It really isn't about how much you post or tweet or upload - it's about how meaningful the content is. Save your energy for sharing what is really important to you - and it will be to others as well.  Quality trumps quantity!  

3.  Tip Three: Do an Ego Check!

~ Ego Check ~

Okay, I might be treading on thin ice here, but I must share Tip Three! And, as always, I include myself in this advice for staying recharged! As you get ready to post, tweet, share, upload, etc., ask yourself these two questions:

Will this benefit, inform, serve, enhance or entertain others?
Is this solely for self-promotion, self-gratification, and/or self-adulation? 

Hmmmm.... take some time and think ~

I realize for most of us the answer is likely a combination of both and there are justifiable and sound reasons for it. I realize also that there are individuals who fall to the extreme of either end of the spectrum - from only serving others to just serving self.  What I am suggesting is for you to do an honest Ego Check - and to  keep it in balance! The irony behind this tip is that as we turn our focus outward in serving ( benefiting, informing, enhancing, entertaining) others, we are instantly replenished and recharged! And the more  our focus is turned inward - the more self-serving we are - the more self-absorbed we become, still feeling depleted and seeking additional renewal and recognition. So as we are striving for that balance, let's remember that we all want to be respected, loved, and affirmed. Let's give others reason to do so.

In closing, during this time of Information Saturation, we will find ourselves staying re-energized and recharged...

 By keeping our supply of information meaningful, mindful and in moderation - 
as we balance out our demand for the same.   

~ Balance Our Supply and Demand ~

* Please note - this concludes our series on Energy Zappers! I'd love to know your thoughts or if you have any other Zappers?!  And, if you think this series will benefit others, please share.

 Until next time ~ be well.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Energy Zapper #5: Shame! 3 Healing Rays for Re-Emergence!

* Please note - this blog contains sensitive material. Suggested for mature audiences.

In our previous blog Energy Zapper #5: Shame! Taking Shame Out Of Its Shadows! ,we discussed the unique anatomy of shame and its three sources of causation – betrayal by someone, betrayal of someone, and betrayal of self. To get the most out of today’s blog, please go back and take a read. And then get ready to move on to part two: Shame! 3 Healing Rays for Re-Emergence!   

As we move out of the shadows of shame, let’s remind ourselves of what shame is through this acronym.
  • S = Self
  • H = Hatred
  • A = And
  • M = Malignant
  • E= Embarrassment
Read it again ~  Self -Hatred And Malignant Embarrassment ~

It’s a heavy emotion. It’s dark and debilitating. And, left unattended, it smothers one’s body, mind and spirit. How then, do we begin to re-emerge from shame?As we start, read and ponder this healing acronym.
  • S = Shared
  • H = Healing
  • A = And                                                                                
  • M = Mindful
  • E = Existence
Say it again, slowly ~ Shared Healing and Mindful Existence ~ 

What do I mean by shared healing? I mean that we must take shame out of its shadows and bring it out into the light. We must share our shame with trusted individuals and allow healing to fill its place. However, it does not mean that we must announce it to the world. It means that we honor and respect our voices by thoughtfully sharing our shame with those who can safely hold it and validate it. And then after releasing our self-hatred and malignant embarrassment, we move onto mindful existence. This means we begin living our lives with purpose and direction - mindful of what is healthy for us and honoring our truths in the process.  

Although the journey of re-emergence is unique to the three types of betrayal and their ensuing manifestations, I want to give you three recovering principles (rays of healing) that I believe are paramount in re-emerging from the shroud of silence, secrecy, and stigma that envelope shame.

  • Healing Ray One – Sharing  Your Truth        

Ray of Sharing
It is key to remember that shame lives in silence. It survives and thrives there. Although it is excruciatingly painful to disclose a betrayal by someone (especially if it is a very intimate and personal betrayal), or to admit to a betrayal of someone or to a betrayal of self, the first step in healing is to share your truth with a trusted individual. This may be your spouse, partner, best friend, person of faith, or mentor. Or this may need to be shared with a professional counselor or therapist. Often, it takes the tender skills of a professional to access the root of the shame, and thus, monitor the individual in the process.

As I think back to so many of my brave clients and their stories of betrayal -  an extraordinary professional adult male fired abruptly during the recession, a long time recovering  female addict falling  back into a dark period of relapse, a gentle mom of two adorable toddlers coming to terms with the childhood sexual abuse by her brother – all of them cried, their faces cringed, and their bodies crumpled up as they mouthed the words, “I feel so much shame.” And then, as their truths slowly surfaced, they shared them.

 In the safety of the setting, the suffocation ceased 
as the accompanying emotions of guilt, blame, and self-doubt were also released. 
Taking in new breaths, these clients began their process of re-emergence.  

  • Healing Ray Two – Validating Your Voice           
    Ray of Validation
Because of shame’s insidious self-deprecating nature, feelings of confusion, worthlessness and powerlessness are quick to smother out seeds of re-emergence. In order for healing to grow, it is critical that your truths be validated – by you and by trusted individuals. This can take form in many ways. Here are a few:

1. Journal your truths each day. Read over them, again and again. 
2. Write down your narratives.  And then, read over them, giving yourself time to      process and to affirm what is true for you.
3. Surround yourselves with healthy routines and environments that support and validate you and
         your truths.
      4. Turn to a trusted small circle of confidence: a friend, a support group, or place of worship. Soak in
    their words of encouragement and affirmation.
      5.Continue to work with a therapist, counselor, or other wellness individuals, practices, or programs.

Many years ago, I worked with a fragile and broken young adult female who lived under a mountain of shame for most of her life. Her alcoholic father molested her as a toddler and her babysitter did the same as she got older. As a teen, she discovered her father had a secret life with a second family as well as a criminal record. And when she came in to see me, her beloved husband has just discovered her secretive promiscuous life.  Although the work was arduous, painful, and lengthy, this young woman began to peel away the layers of shame. As she uncovered her truths and spoke them, she began to write them down. She wrote and she wrote. Pages and pages were filled with her anguish. She wept – she screamed – she grieved.

And as she read her truths over and over again – 
to herself and to me – she began to breathe.
As she validated her voice, she re-emerged from the mountain of shame...
 and started to believe in herself and her truths for the first time. 

  • Healing Ray Three -  Living Out Your Truths
Ray of Living
Once we have voiced our narratives of shame to ourselves and with selective others, and as we continue to validate our voices to ourselves and with trusted others, we must then act upon our new-found but vulnerable healing place. This is hard work and it is a continual process! However, it is what prevents shame from its resurgence! Each and every day that we live in wellness, work a program or process of recovery, live out our beliefs and stay true to our foundations, embrace the practices that sustain and support us – we live a  shame-free existence; we live a more mindful one.

Each day that we live honestly and authentically with our truths, 
we continue to re-emerge and….we smother out the smoldering ashes of shame.   

A number of years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a phenomenal man. He was in his mid-sixties and a highly successful businessman, looking forward to retirement.  A 25 plus year recovering alcoholic and addict, he was worried about relapsing. During his intake, I discovered a multitude of betrayals in his life – from others, of others, and of himself. In fact, his story could have been something from an episode of The Sopranos! However, what he had accomplished and how he had lived his life during his years of recovering was extraordinary – helping others, giving back, funding programs, making restitution for his wrongs, and building a strong family unit. As the weeks went by and we continued to work together, I sensed a fissure in his soul. It was a buried beneath layers of silence and secrecy. Tenderly and slowly, he began to dig deep and uncover a shame from long ago – years of childhood molestation by an older female.  It was a wound never before cauterized, cleaned, and cared for. 

During our time together, as he shared his suffering and validated his voice,
 a vibrant man re-emerged – working his program of recovering, 
staving off relapse, and living out his truths.

As we close, I am well aware that there is much more to say about shame. Because we have just scratched the surface, I have provided you with some recovering references below ~

However, I leave you with the knowledge and the hope that although shame does not discriminate, 
neither does re-emergence from it.

Start today. Start now.
Step out of the shadows of shame. Feel the rays of sun shine on you. 
Get ready to re-emerge through ~

Shared Healing And Mindful Existence

* For more information and recovery tools on healing from all kinds of betrayal, I invite you to read
Breaking Through Betrayal 2nd Edition: And Recovering The Peace Within

* And, for more information and recovery tools on healing from shame, I invite you to read 
Mountain Air: Relapsing and Finding The Way Back...One Breath at a Time


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Energy Zapper #5: Shame! Taking Shame Out Of Its Shadows!

We have been discussing Energy Zappers! What are they? For the most part, they are habits or social behaviors which are a part of our everyday life, but unfortunately do very little to enhance our sense of well-being. Why? Because they deplete us!  If you haven’t had a chance to read them, go back and review  #1 - Giving Advice#2 - Drama ,#3- Worry #4 -Negativity.You might find them helpful in keeping yourself energized! Today, we are going to take a bit of a departure and talk about a zapper that really isn’t a habit or social behavior – it is an emotion. However, because of the silence, secrecy, and stigma around this emotion – it often goes unattended and unaddressed – eroding the core of our beings. What is Energy Zapper #5?  It is... Shame. And because of the complexity of shame –its anatomy, its sources of causation, and its unique healing considerations – we will spend two blogs on this zapper!

Self- Hatred

Over the past couple of years, it seems as though there has been more of an interest in shame. It has made its way into our academic conversations and there is more of an acceptance of it as a legitimate source of self-harm. At the same time, it is a deeply personal emotion that is difficult to own and to discuss. What is it about shame that silences our voices and suffocates our spirits?
As we gain a better understanding of it, let’s take a look at the anatomy of shame though this acronym:

  • S = Self
  • H = Hatred
  • A = And                                                                        
    Malignant Embarrassment
  • M = Malignant
  • E = Embarrassment  

Let’s say that to ourselves again ~ Self-Hatred And Malignant Embarrassment ~

No wonder it is so hard to hold this emotion - let alone speak of it. At a closer examination of the word self-hatred, it implies much more than a dislike or dissatisfaction with oneself. This is a degree of self-loathing and self-contempt that is intolerable and frequently leads one to medicate with unhealthy self-soothing measures.This intensity of self-hatred is entwined with other toxic emotions such as guilt, self-blame, and debilitating disgust. Unless addressed, these self-deprecating emotions are further exacerbated by malignant embarrassment  - a terminal humiliation that envelopes us in its secrecy and stigma. 

What a heaviness to carry... 
What a blanket of burden weighing down one's body, mind and spirit. 

What is the source of shame?What are its powerful causes that deplete us and erode our sense of well-being? I believe that shame is rooted in one of three kinds of betrayal.
  • Betrayal by someone
  • Betrayal of someone
  • Betrayal of self

Let's begin with examples of betrayal by someone. Although it doesn’t seem right or even sensible that someone who is betrayed by someone should feel any shame, it happens to most victims. Do you know someone who….
  • Was let go or fired from a job unjustifiably?                        
    Betrayal by Someone
  • Was left by his/her partner or spouse unexpectedly?
  • Was scammed by a person or company?
  • Was abandoned, abused, neglected or rejected by a loved one, family member, or friend?
  • Was lied to by a trusted individual?

When an individual is betrayed by someone else, the victim’s truths are no longer so.

He has been robbed from what he had, redefined from who he was, 
and often relinquished to a lesser place/status than he knew before. 

These losses are compounded with thoughts of  “If only I would have…”, or “I should have…” which in turn fuel and feed the descent into shame. It is a dark and difficult place to be - feeling wronged and taking on responsibility for it.

Betrayal of Someone

As we move on to betrayal of someone, it might seem ironic that the deliberate or planned violation of trust against someone would incite feelings of shame. And of course, there are individuals who for various reasons feel no sense of remorse or guilt for their actions. However, I believe that most healthy individuals involved in the betrayal of another person – either intentional or unintentional – experience tremendous shame.  It may not show itself in obvious ways; it may lay dormant for an extended period of time; and it may never be outwardly revealed.  But eventually, the shame festers and the secrecy of it begins to manifest in a variety of unhealthy reactive and/or repressive behaviors. Have you experienced or know of someone who has exhibited any of the following attitudes, emotions, or behaviors after betraying another individual?

  •          Bitterness
  •          Anger
  •          Resentment
  •          Blame
  •          Narcissism or other self-inflating characteristics
  •          Addictions or other unhealthy self-soothing behaviors
  •          Depression
  •          Anxiety

Attempts at masking the self-hatred and malignant embarrassment are usually futile.  Over time and without acknowledgement of wrongdoing accompanied with appropriate restitution or resolution, shame takes on a persona of its own. And, it smothers the true self.

Lastly, let’s take a look at betrayal of self.  What do I mean by betrayal of self? This is important.

  Whenever we relapse or regress into any unhealthy pattern of thinking, behaving, or feeling –
 we betray ourselves and we experience tremendous shame. 

For example, have you or someone you know… 
  • Regressed into a former pattern of unhealthy behavior such as anger, rage, or control?
  • Returned to toxic relationships or abusive friendships?
  • Relapsed into drugs, alcohol, or other addictions? 
  • Abandoned or turned away from a program of recovery or a process of healthy living?
  • Left an environment that is healthy and healing – a place of work or living, support systems or friendships?
  • Let go of spiritual practices that tether individuals to their worth or purpose?
  • Rejected cultural or ethnic norms, traditions, or customs and forfeited the foundations of your heritage?
  • Denied your true selves – who you are, your roles, and your identities?
  • Let go of your truths - held onto past mistakes, secrets, injuries or injustices; lied to yourself and to others about them? 
Most of us have experienced one or more of these! And, let's be honest - who wants to admit it or talk about it? Why? Because the most painful and shameful part of betrayal of self is that we chose it. No one forced us or coerced us into the betrayal. We made the decision! We own it! And thus, the self-hatred and malignant embarrassment seep into our inner core and begin to strangle our spirit. As we go about our days, shame surfaces here and there as triggers remind us of our self -betrayal. And, it takes tremendous energy to push it down - to keep it away. And then, left unattended - shame will linger and leave us increasingly depleted.
Betrayal of Self

In closing for today, I know that this blog has not been energizing! However, I do hope it has been enlightening! By taking shame out of its shadows – understanding its anatomy and its sources of causation - it ceases to survive in secrecy! And that is where we must start! 

Next time as we look at 3 unique healing considerations, we will move from...

Self-Hatred And Malignant Embarrassment 
              to a recharging acronym...         

                            ~  Shared Healing And Mindful Existence  ~                                  

Featured Post

Protecting Our Youth Against Campus Sexual Assault: 3 Key Strategies

Today's blog is for mature audiences: ages 18 and over. Today's conversation is not an easy one to have, but it is critical.  Wha...