Tag Archives: relationships

The cloak of invisibilty

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The cloak of invisibilty

cloak

When she was little, her grandfather told her about the cloak of invisibility. A little girl wanted to get inside a palace, but as she was poor and never could get inside, she could only dream. One day a fairy appeared, holding a blood-red cloak, sparkling in the sunlight. She carefully draped it around the girls shoulders, and left. Three days later, when she by coincidence looked into a mirror in a hotel where she went in to wash her face, she startled when she could`t see herself in the mirror. In shock her cloak fell off her with a heavy thud, and she magically reappeared. Picking it up and taking it on again, she vanished once more.

The following days, she experimented with her cloak, and not only could she not see herself in the mirror when she put it on, no one else could either. With a thumping heart, she went to the palace. The cloak firmly around her slim body, walking with shaky legs, she stepped inside her palace of her dreams. Not only did her eyes rest upon beauty she never knew existed, but she also saw the prince himself. He was so handsome, that her cloak almost fell off her again, but she managed to avoid the disaster by clutching it tight. Three days later, she ventured into the palace again, and saw the prince sitting in the library, reading a book with tears streaming on his beautiful face. Without thought, she ran over to him, always eager to help. When she ran, her cloak made her trip and she fell, exposing the body she always tried to hide. The prince looked up from his book in shock from the loud thud, and the sudden appearance of a girl right in front of him. Their eyes met, and if there is such a thing as faith, this was it.

Three years later, they were happily married and had a girl, a little princess. The girl with the cloak, was never invisible again.

Her grandfather looked at his grandchild and smiled. She sat there, in rapt attention, dreams floating in her eyes. She looked at in him in awe and asked with a tender voice:

«Can I have a cloak like that?» He chuckled, stroking her hair and thinking he would give her anything, if he only could. On her 4th birthday a present was under a bed together with a little fairy doll on top of it. Eagerly she ripped off the paper, exposing a beautiful red cloak with glittering beads all over it. Before her parents, who always disapproved of her no matter what she did, could come in and realize that her grandfather had indulged in her once again, she hid it in the closet where she herself hid when her father roared in anger.

Later, she tried it on. She hid her bruises, misery and pain, and felt safe underneath the soft satin cloak. When she heard footsteps outside her room, she did not shiver like usual. She only put the cloak tighter around her, hiding in her closet, murmuring that everything would be okay. Like magic, her father left her alone, though he probably knew she sat there, and could have dragged her out to the bed like he sometimes did.

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She had always felt invisible, even without a cloak, but this time it felt good. When she recalled how much fear and horror she endured in her life, as an adult, she knew that she finally could change her future. Her cloak was always with her, no matter how dirty and ragged it became. Bit by bit, she felt safe enough to show small pieces of her invisible self to people who loved her. She managed to hide when someone untrustworthy came into her life, and slowly the bruises that had marked her body for so many years, faded. Sometimes, in the darkness before the dawn, she still put the cloak on, and little by little she managed to show herself to the world. She was like a broken mirror, but slowly the pieces came together again, and finally, one day, she was able to look at herself fully. Her husband, a kind man, helped her and found many of the broken pieces. Handling them with care, he fixed the mirror together with her, until they both could look into each others eyes without ever having to turn their gaze away from what they both hid inside.

At their third anniversary, he hid a present under her bed, with a little fairy on top. Her eyes filled with tears, as she saw the soft present underneath it. With shaking hands, she unwrapped it. A new cloak, even softer than the first one, appeared. Her tears flowed freely now, and when her husband came in with a birthday breakfast on a silver tray, he came over and held her hand. Carefully, he draped the soft silk around her shoulders. To her amazement, he wore a black cloak himself, shining in the sunlight from the new day. Together, they walked over to the mirror.

Her tears stopped flowing, and in that moment, life was good.

She never had to hide again.

This post was reblogged from my blog: Mirrorgirlblog

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Breaking news: Live from a mental institution

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Breaking news: Live from a mental institution

sickAn anchor woman holds her microphone steady as she reports live from ‘We have the power’ , an old mental institution where the walls should have been painted decades ago. Her voice intermingle with twenty other reporters looking seriously into the camera, pointing occasionally to the building behind them. The anchor woman turns her voice dramatically down when she arrives at the conclusion.

“Sources tell us that in this mental institution, often just keep patients long enough to give them medication before they send them back. They sometimes don’t arrive at the right diagnose, and it is rumored that they don’t take enough time with traumatized victims or that they even consciously decide not to talk about what they have experienced. Only 30% report that they felt better or had hope for the future after being released, and surveys show that staggering 20 % of the patients will be readmitted after not receiving the help they wanted”

Her face is now full of rage. Her mother killed herself after being hospitalized in a mental health clinic. When she had read through her mother’s journal she saw how many pills she was on, barbiturates strong enough to knock out a mammoth. When she tried to find therapy notes where her mother could process her traumatic past, she only found short conversations where the doctors wanted to know if she slept well, eat what she should or if she felt a bit better after taking another pill. She shouldn’t even be reporting, but she manages to do her job, t is important for her to get it all out there.

Another reporter talks with the direction, who promises that they will do everything to make this right. They will look into their routines and see what they can do to make sure this will never happen again.

The news report goes viral. Oprah dedicate her next show to the cause, and Internet users on Twitter have started protest demonstrations, venturing into the street with their fists pumping in the air as they chant: ‘Stop this, stop this, stop this’. They bring posters where with personal accounts: ‘My mother only got three days in the institution, when her depression intensified they said they have done everything they could so she was not prioritized. Take mental health seriously!” Some write messages to the government. ‘We want that our tax payers money go to mental health care for the 450 billions who needs better treatment” or “Why only research on drugs?”.  The protesters don’t make to much of a fuss. They don’t shout out obscenities, but they gather in every city, staying put and showing their support. They have started a peaceul war.

Why don’t we see this in the real world? Where is the public outcry over the state of unsatisfactory mental health care? When someone breaks a leg, we demand full treatment until the injury is fully treated. We never take off the bandage after three weeks instead of six, telling our patient that they can come back if the leg breaks again as it will because it simply was not healed. We protest when the plumber does a bad job, demanding to sue them if they don’t come back and fix it. When politicians have done something wrong, news papers write about it for days, as they do when an actress have broken down and been sent to rehab. But where are the headlines after it thousands of citizens have been ignored by the health care system? Where are the depth interviews with families who’ve seen their loved ones break down after unsuccessful treatment?

In my future news scenario, the media would focus on mental health daily. They would write nuanced articles on every subject relating to how we suffer and what our options are when we do. There would be demonstrations to so that we get what we need.

We would all be small Ghandies, damanding justice. We wouldn’t close our eyes, we would engage and try to change things. The media would not ignore us.

In my future utopia, the mental institution ‘We have the power’ would change their ways. They would give the power back to their patients, not giving up before they had tailor made the treatment that was right for them. They would listen to them and find their resources.

They would use money on educating their employees, giving their patient the very best care. We do it with cancer patients, we even do it at Starbucks to make sure that the customers are a hundred percent satisfied with their coffees. I dream about a world where surveys about how satisfied their patient are with their treatment. Why shouldn’t we give mental health all of our attention? When almost a fourth of us have psychological issues, stigma should be lifted by never ignoring our troubled minds.

We should not be afraid to speak up.

More:

Demonstations

Mental health research in India

 Stigma | Mental Health Commission of Canada

Readmission Rates for Mental Health Patients – NBRHC

Strategies for reducing stigma toward persons with mental illness 

Perspectives…

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Boys carrying spaghetti in a macaroni factory in Naples, Italy. 1929

Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…

http://www.raptitude.com/2010/10/9-mind-bending-epiphanies-that-turned-my-world-upside-down

 

First podcast on kindness to a stranger

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I am still learning new things about the internet and its possibilities.. I`m talking english, so forgive me if the grammar could be better, and the nervousness, but I think the point is made, and that you`ll get an idea of what the podcast is about. I`ve finally sat down to look at podcasts, and have hopefully learnt enough to upload and publish my first one

Follow this link for the podcast

If you`d like to be interviewed about kindness, contact me at forfreepsychology@gmail.com with a request. After a while, I will try to pay the people I interview, but for now, the rewards will be psychological in nature. If you like the idea, remember you can donate to the cause (the money will never be used by me personally).

Kindness to a stranger

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On the page “Let`s change the world” you find our idea for a better world. We have now created a group where I will post information about a competition we will have, and where I will publish ideas for acts of kindness we all can do. You will also find a lot of inspirations and ideas here on the blog. For those who don`t know what kindness to a stranger mean, I`ll repost the idea:

 

Project: Kindness to a stranger

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Give a smile to a stranger, and you might have made the world a little better  ”validation project”

Project kindness to a stranger

To introduce the idea, I will ask everyone to watch this short movie first. Even if it takes 18 minutes, and afterwards you will feel good.

We go about our everyday lives wanting things to always be getting better. We hope that our work makes a difference and those who came before us are proud and we wish for our children to have more than what we were given. As anyone knows who has heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech—delivered fifty years ago this August~ dreams are at the center of any effort to make things better. And today we have something with more power than we might realize: The internet. It’s not without reason that China and North-Korea tried to keep their inhabitants away from news.The media also have immense power, and even if some might argue that they focus on the wrong things, a lot of journalist really want to make the world a better place. Combine the knowledge, motivation the internet and the media and you have a wonderful recipe: People who actually do something.

http://ow.ly/nk7U1

So, by now you might be thinking: Yeah, sure, but what can I DO?

If you have watched the movie, you have seen the immense effect some words can have. When we have the possibility to help, by little effort, we do it. For example, most people help the world by sorting our paper and throw it in a separate garbage bin, thereby saving the rainforest. So, what about potentially making somebody happy by smiling a little?

trueResearch shows that our mirror-neurons respond automatically by creating a smile on your own lips. This means that smiling AT someone, actually MAKE them happier. Research also shows that being happy yourself, gives you more energy to be there for others. So, like in the video, I would challenge the readers of this blog to do JUST one nice thing for somebody else (preferably a stranger, because that would have the biggest impact) the next week.

When you have done that, write WHAT you did, and if you want, leave your email at the end. This will be like signing a petition for releasing a political prisoners. For every one of you who does that, you might have made the world just a little better. This is what your story means: You are signing a petition for a better world

 

 

The group can be found here (you must have google + to join). I will start to interview people next week, and I will then focus on good things they`ve done, or good things others have done to them. The interviews will be posted on the group:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104282293763031936119

twitter: @Freepsychology

Facebook page (have you liked it yet?): https://www.facebook.com/freepsychology

Languages of love

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language(s) of love

26DEC20132 Comments

by kajoemanis in random thoughts Tags: 

When you love someone, in terms of romantic relationship, you tend to focus everything on him. You learn what he likes and dislikes, his hobbies, strengths and weaknesses, moods, insecurities, and… verbal and non-verbal languages. You push and pull, adapt, have breakdowns, but you refuse to give up because you want to have a deep meaningful connection. Why? For a deep meaningful connection provides us security and safety, both physically and mentally.

Basically, it doesn’t only apply to your beloved one. This also applies to those we deal with in our lives on daily basis. They can be your co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, good friends, siblings, parents and/or children. We do this because we tend to seek a deeper connection with others, albeit it gives us complexities of life. We like to make something meaningful because then it will make us have meaning to others. And on the top of all, it’s simply because we’re humans.

And language is the bridge to connect all relations humans can possibly create and it’s more than something that has linguistic features with structure and sound conveying ideas, meaning and emotion. I’m referring to the non-verbal language that can make others feel loved and secured and later confident about themselves: the language of love.

There’s a good reference about this particular language. It’s entitled The Five Love Languages and written by Dr. Gary Chapman. To sum up, everyone has their own love languages. He divides the love languages into 5 types:

–          Words affirmation: they need to hear that they’re wonderful, awesome, beautiful. And if they make something for you, say cooking, they need to hear from you that their cooking is delicious. A simply comment such as ‘yummy!’ can make them happy. And of course a thank you. It will build their self-image and confidence.

–          Quality time: they need to spend some intimate moments by doing things together with their loved ones. If they like gardening, they need you to be there doing it with you happily. If they like hiking, they wish you to participate actively in it. Doing things together and focusing on one another in given special time even though it’s only short but consistently is what they see as a way to show their love.

–          Giving presents: they believe that giving presents to their loved ones is a language of love. They will remember your birthday, anniversary and other special dates because they think these dates are important to you. If you forget theirs or you do remember but you don’t give presents, they will feel neglected and unloved.

–          Acts of service: doing little things in house for your loved ones, such as helping them with dishes, cleaning and dusting are viewed as acts of love. Imagine if they’re busy doing the house chores alone but you’re just sitting there reading or watching TV. They will feel so much unloved and you’re being indifferent.

–          Physical touch: They like holding hands, touching your hair, cuddling and even dancing with you. When their partner can be reciprocal speaking this language, they will feel loved and special.

languages

Everyone may speak the same language(s) with their partners or totally different, mostly due to their own background such how they’re raised. Yes, we can’t ignore this important issue because that’s when they learnt their first love languages (a bit of it or not at all). Further, things will collide when people use different language(s) but refuse to learn their partner’s language(s). Imagine if you have the physical touch language but your partner didn’t learn it when s/he was little and so s/he never realizes that it is important to you. On the other hand, picture if your partner ‘speaks’ quality time language, but you’re too busy with your gadgets and works even when you’re at home rather than spending some hours together after a long day. Analogously, when one wants to communicate with someone who speaks a different native language, s/he will do any efforts to use a language that the other can understands, instead of insisting to use his or her own language, or s/he won’t get there. When the connection gets deeper, s/he will learn to speak the other’s native language to understand him or her more for the more you understand, the more things will get easier, the connection gets deeper and the bonding gets tighter. It will make us secure the insecurities and feel safe physically and mentally. For the sake of it, we will do that in any level of relations: business, friendship and even romance.

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As for me, apparently I speak at least four languages. The one language that has less importance –  not that I don’t think it’s necessary – to me is acts of service simply because of the way I was raised. I never saw my dad there to help my mom with house chores and my mom would whining whole days 24/7 because of tiresome (well, 5 children and doing the house chores alone, it’s automatically understandable). But this language can be replaced with another one: quality time. And I think it’s more valuable and powerful when doing house chores together because you want to have quality time with your partner, than simply as an act of service.

I personally think it is nice to have someone who understands your language(s). I believe, it feels wonderful and comfortable. You will also feel so much loved and understood without having to be mentally exhausted when relating to others – despite of all possible breakdowns. It will weigh you down when your partner enjoys your company and feels comfortable with you because you understand his or her languages but they don’t strive to use your languages in return. No matter what, we have to admit that everything tends to be reciprocal in general. And when loving someone becomes a noble idea (you give more than take), we must question ourselves how far we are willing to learn and ‘speak’ our loved ones’ language(s) for it will take a lot of efforts, energy and time. Yet, before coming down to the answer, you must love yourself and find the clues of this followingquestion for yourself:

What is your love language(s)?

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What Color Is Your Flower?

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Unable to Focus

Unable to Focus

The other day, I read something that spoke about neuro scientific research reporting that the average person spends 13 per cent of their time in a frame of mind that is best described as “zoned out.”

At first I felt upset with this information, considering all the wasted time that this indicated my mind wandered. But as I read on, the tone of the article remained upbeat and optimistic. Why? Because these periods where we zone out and don’t have the cognitive awareness we feel we should possess are actually good for us. Yep, it seems they are vital to our being able to stay imaginative and creative. This is the place where our brains free float through what seems like insignificant streams of consciousness.

The reality is that these places of spontaneous thinking are the birth places of creativity and imagination. They are places where our judgmental selves don’t have a chance of surviving so we are free to just let ourselves go. These zone out times permit us to unleash restrictive, rational thought and just allow whatever comes to come.

I have nothing against rational and logical thinking. Far from it. Thinking logically is totally necessary and a good thing. But giving our brains the ability to zone out and just free-flow is equally necessary and provides us with a healthy compliment to routine, structured and rational thoughts.

Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin

One of my favorite songsters of all time is Harry Chapin. I hope most of you have heard of him and remember him, not only for the songs that were the most popular like “Taxi” or “Cats in the Cradle” although they were good songs with a message or story to tell too. But the song that comes to mind is called “Flowers are Red,” a song with a wonderful message about society’s traditional response to thinking differently and seeing things through a lens that is different than the one most of us see through.

There is a degree of comfort in knowing we are all alike and zeroing in on all the similarities we share with our fellow human beings, but there is also something extremely worthwhile when we celebrate our differences and our being unique. There is so much we can learn from these differences. We can complement each other because of these differences if we learn how to embrace them and value them.

This is still something I am learning how to do better. Sometimes my knee-jerk reaction is to expect other people to think the way I think or feel the way I feel and I get upset if they don’t. I want to feel more connected to them and I mistakenly think if they are more like me then we are more connected.

Embrace Diversity

Embrace Diversity

Relationships take a lot of work because of the differences. We need to learn how to accept and respect people despite them. Even if we are similar to another person in our beliefs, the times when we have our zone out moments may not be the same. We may be experiencing something quite crucial to us when our most trusted and closest confidant is going through a zone out moment and is unable to be there to understand.

We may be zoned out when our co-worker asks us for our utmost attention or when our son or daughter is facing potential danger.

Nobody said relationships were easy, and with some of the newer finding about human behavior, we are able to better understand ourselves and each other; and hopefully help us deal with each other with more understanding and kindness.

And what better time to start than right now as this holiday season begins?

The Best Kept Secret to Highly Successful Couples

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An excerpt: 

“According to Adam Grant, Wharton’s most popular and youngest tenured faculty member, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, people fall into one of 3 distinct categories: Givers, Matchers and Takers. While Grant’s book is written for a business audience, its theories provide extraordinary insight into romantic relationships. The category you fall into may well determine the success and happiness of your relationship!”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201311/the-best-kept-secret-highly-successful-couples?tr=HdrQuote

Social Media and Self-doubt…

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The following article highlights one of the difficulties encountered by many social media consumers…

“Social media-induced angst is happening with increasing frequency. Just as businesses and brands use social media to interact with their target audience and monitor consumer interest, people are using social media to gauge how their friends and acquaintances feel about them. “Likes” may be interpreted as approvals. Not “liking,” not following, or otherwise not engaging might translate into snubs. Since social media etiquette is largely undefined, and there are few universally-understood and followed “rules of engagement,” such interpretation is highly subjective and, in many instances, leans towards the worst-case scenario.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201310/your-social-life-is-not-your-social-media

 

Things To Hide: How Honest Are You?

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Is anyone completely honest? Is it even possible for anyone to be that transparent? Or does everyone have, for whatever reason, at least a few things they hide?

It might be because they’re ashamed to share something, whether it’s something they’ve done or something they don’t like about themselves. Or it might be because it’s better for everyone else that they don’t reveal something: they saw something they shouldn’t have or they know something no-one else knows. I’m thinking about things that don’t harm anyone if these things aren’t revealed; so it’s no moral code that’s being broken here. The only thing that’s being broken is the ability of a person to wholeheartedly reveal all of themself to another person.

Of course, none of us can completely share everything with another person due to our brains being encased in our bodies at a ratio of 1:1. No matter how much you share and how well you share it, I will never be able to understand it or experience it the way you do. We have the gift of communication and as relational beings we can relate to each other, but I will never know if what I experience is exactly the same as what you experience, close though it may be. It’s the whole when I see blue you may be seeing purple scenario, and even if we both saw blue, we may be seeing different shades of blue and never know.

Excluding the limitations of the physical design of our bodies and things like time and memory, I wonder if there’s anyone who is known completely by another person. I naturally think of people who are married or who have been with someone for many years. I used to think going out with someone meant they would know everything about you. This terrified me and it was the reason I thought I’d never go out with anyone; not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think I could share everything with another person. If a prerequisite for going out with someone was you had to tell them everything – as I thought it was – then I was doomed to be alone forever.

I’ve come to realize though, that even marriage doesn’t mean two people will know everything about each other. Sure, they will probably know each other more than any other person, but they’ll always be learning new things about each other. People can go into marriage thinking it will fulfil them because, “At last I will be known completely,” only to realize that’s not how it works. I’m okay with this. I know not to look for fulfilment from another person; that’s too high a pressure to put on someone.

I had a friend tell me, “It’s not like that,” when I told her my fears about having to share everything with a guy if we were to go out. This made me wonder, “Well, what is it like then?” Because as much as I feared having to share everything, I also desperately wanted to. In one way I was relieved that I don’t have to reveal everything, but in another way I was kind of disappointed. I wanted to be known by someone, and now I found out going out with someone and even marrying them wasn’t going to guarantee that. Was there no hope for me to be known?

This wouldn’t be an issue if I was honest with everyone and had nothing to hide. I wouldn’t have this need to be known and this desire to share everything if I was already known. And it is this that brings me back to my original question: is anyone completely honest? Or is it just me who feels like no-one truly knows me?

Maybe it’s okay to not reveal everything. Maybe it’s just a personality thing. Some people are open books; others keep things inside. I’m quiet and introverted so maybe that explains why the thought of sharing everything terrifies me and why I feel like no-one really knows me. This would all be fine except I have a need to be known. Is this something of the human condition that we all simply want to be known? And is this because we were made to be known? I don’t mean that we’re all made to be famous, just that people will know us for who we really are.

I don’t think it’s just a personality thing for me, though, because it’s only certain things I don’t feel I can share: things I’m ashamed of, things I don’t like about myself, my fears and insecurities. Do I have more of these things than other people, or do I just fear sharing them more than other people? I worry about what people will think of me. I worry they’ll think badly of me. I worry they’ll judge me.

But I want to share these things because if I don’t, no-one will ever truly know me. Maybe all the things I want to share don’t need to be shared, but I always thought if someone wanted to really know me, they’d want me to share everything. Maybe other people don’t think people are hiding anything, because they themselves don’t hide anything. I, on the other hand, know I hide things so I assume others hide things too and I want to know them. It matters to me.

I want to know people and I want them to know me.