Which is Stronger?

My writing prompt for today is, “Which is stronger, love or hate?”

My answer is Love, of course.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I believe love really does conquer all.

The Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love.” And while the concept makes for a catchy tune, it’s also a truth that some people still have a difficult time believing.

We get so caught up in our every day struggles that we forget that other people are going through the same struggles, or worse!

Misunderstandings, different mindsets and worldviews, and lack of communication, along with a variety of personalities and points of view, can fuel the fires for arguments and negativity, which can turn into hate.

And all we really needed to do was to talk to the person we were upset with in the first place.

We are all different. We are all human. We all started at the very same place. And I believe that if we took some time to get to know a person, a culture, a religion, or a nationality, and try to understand why they think what they think, and believe what they believe, there would be a lot less hate in the world.

But what it really comes down to is, who do you want to be? Do you want to look at the world as mostly loving and kind, or do you want to close yourself off and live in your own paranoia? After all, hate is just another word for fear; we fear what we don’t know and disguise it with contempt.

Ask yourself this question; do you want to live a life of love, or hate?

It’s really your choice. But when you choose, choose carefully. It’s difficult to change your course when you’ve been on it too long.

As for me, I want to do my best to live a life of love. I’m a work in progress, but at least I’m headed in the right direction.

Tribute

Sensitivity is a Gift

I came across a Facebook post that contained a link to a study that was done in 2011 that links social anxiety to empathetic individuals.

And because I am always intrigued with articles that try to explain my unique character, I read on:

“Being an Empath means you literally feel what other people are experiencing emotionally. You can feel it in your body, your mood, sensations and in your thoughts. You can also feel it consciously and on a subtle level without realizing it.”

I know this for a fact I can literally feel the tension and negative vibes when I talk to people who are upset or excited or anxious, even on the phone, and I can’t wait to get away from them. I want to stay and listen, and if they need me to listen or talk, I will, for a while anyway. But the entire time, I am looking for an out, trying to wrap things up, or ask them to call me later when they calm down. (I leave out that part so I don’t offend them.)

Which brings up the whole co-dependent thing. Consciously I know I am not responsible for people’s feelings, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings if I can help it. Sometimes I can’t and I just have to accept it. But I know I am more considerate than many, and I take that into consideration. (It’s exhausting just listening to myself as I write this.)

It’s not just people; social activities, even the ones I want to be at, or so draining I have to leave after a short amount of time.  I can tolerate social gatherings, but I’m not comfortable. I would much rather be home, in my room, on my computer. I’m a journalist, and kind of expected to experience the world I am writing about.

It was easier when I was drinking because a few drinks would take the edge off and I could relax. But since I quit almost 11 years ago, I don’t have that “crutch,” and it’s difficult to relax at social gatherings, even with my own family.

Most people understand, but some are offended when I leave a party early. It’s just to hard for some people to understand.

Imagine a wild deer in a locked pen. It realizes it’s trapped and frantically looks for a way out. It paces back and forth until finally the gate opens and the deer bolts out. That’s kind of how I feel in many social situations. A little extreme, I know, but I have learned to manage it. I no longer run for the nearest exit. I edge my way towards it …

I have always been extremely sensitive and because I  care so much about what other people think, I viewed my sensitivity as a curse. It wasn’t that long ago that I heard, “Don’t let people walk all over you,” “You need a thicker skin,” or “Get a backbone.”

I thought there was something really wrong with me. When I was angry, I’d cry, because I was more hurt than angry. I couldn’t understand how people could be so hurtful and hateful. I became confused about love, because how could people say they love you, and then hurt you?

But once I understood how my sensitivity is a gift, not a curse, I accepted it, and now I’m glad I’m ultra-sensitive.

I feel things deeply and I connect with others on a new level, which is important to me. I actually look for that connection, that common bond, which helps me relate to that person on a deeper level. By empathizing with them, they will know they are not alone with whatever they are dealing with.

Some people say, “You’re too sensitive,” like it’s a bad thing. But maybe the people who see it as a bad thing are actually jealous because they don’t have the same ability.

And for the record; being sensitive is not the same as being emotional.  According to psychologist, Nancy Schreinre, “being sensitive implies empathy towards others outside of yourself. Being emotional doesn’t necessarily imply empathy and is more about the person being emotional than about the person needing empathy.”

Crying at sappy movies is one thing, but I cry at the horrible things going on throughout the entire world. I cry because I feel bad that others don’t have a place to live, or not enough to eat, or are abused, neglected, or bullied.

I cry for all human kind. That’s who I am. And though I am learning to stand up for myself and getting good at creating boundaries, I will always feel empathy, and I will always be socially anxious.

Psychologist, Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step in changing anything is being aware it needs changing.”

I agree with the statement, but there are some things you can’t change no matter how hard you try. Besides, in this case, would I even want to? I would much rather be sensitive and have to manage the anxiety that comes along with it, than be inconsiderate and uncaring toward others.

tributecr.com

Challenge #6-My Best Friend

Writing about how I feel about someone sounds easy, but I think my sixth challenge might be the writing challenge6hardest yet.  Feelings don’t always translate well in words. Some of the meaning is lost when you try to describe your innermost feelings. I think the trick to writing about feelings is to write in a way that will have most people walking away from the story thinking, “Yeah, I’ve been there…I know how she feels.”

Jeff and I met five years ago, but I feel like I have known him my entire life. He’s my partner, my teacher, my confidant, and my shoulder to cry on.

He’s my best friend.

Jeff makes me feel like I’m the most important person in the world. And for someone like me, who often lacks self-confidence, having someone accept you the way you are and loving you just because you’re you, it’s your very own happily-ever-after.

From the moment I met him, I knew we were destined to be best friends.  It could have been the rose he held in his hand as he walked through the door of the restaurant or the way he held the door open for me. Maybe it was his positive attitude about life or the way his eyes sparkled when he laughed.

But I think it was because he made me feel like I mattered. From the very beginning, he hung on my every word and was genuinely interested in what I had to say.  He made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.

And he still does.

Jeff and I have the kind of friendship that comes only once in a lifetime. We share something that goes beyond understanding, that goes beyond words. We don’t even have to explain how we feel because we already know.

And to him, I am important. Who could ask for anything more?