My aim is to normalise mental well being issues, like addiction, trauma, PTSD etc. To share about some of my hard learned experiences and my current ongoing challenges in hopes that it may assist someone out there.
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The real reason we become addicts. Most people believe addiction results from chemical changes that occur in the brain. while there certainly is truth to this, is this the real reason we become addicts? Once you’ve had enough cocaine, your brain gets used to the substance and demands this substance to function, correct? Not quite. […] The post The Real Reason Addiction Develops appeared first on Eyes of an...
The real reason we become addicts.
Most people believe addiction results from chemical changes that occur in the brain.
while there certainly is truth to this, is this the real reason we become addicts?
Once you’ve had enough cocaine, your brain gets used to the substance and demands this substance to function, correct?
Pamela, a roaring alcoholic booked herself into a treatment facility.
Her goal? To rid herself of her drinking habit.
60 days later she walks out with her head held high. She no longer craves a drink, in fact, she has developed a new addiction, exercise.
The only problem with this new addiction is that it slowly takes over her life as she becomes increasingly obsessed with exercise and the way she looks.
When you look at recovering addicts in early treatment, one of the biggest things we are warned about is the dangers of cross addiction.
When I first learned about cross addiction, the first thought that came to mind was that I was simply looking for a way to replace my main addiction with a less satisfying new one. But, that’s not the reason we cross addict.
An addiction study:
A study was performed where rats were kept in isolated cages.
Each cage was equipped with two bottles of water. The first bottle of water was laced with cocaine, the second bottle contained pure, clean water.
Once the rats had a taste of the first bottle, they soon all opted for the first bottle of water and abused it over time, until it led to their death.
Another study was conducted with the same rats that have developed this addiction to cocaine.
They were all put in an amazing cage.
The enclosure was spacious, furnished with exciting toys to play with and more importantly, the company of other rats.
As time went on, these rats opted less for the cocaine laced water and drank the pure, clean water. The option was still there, but, given the change in their living conditions, their need for their drug reduced.
The study concluded that even though there was a biological change in the rats that created a drug dependency; they were less likely to need the drug once their other basic needs were fulfilled.
This highlights one very important fact around drug and alcohol addiction.
We are not necessarily addicted to the drug itself, we are addicted to the relief the drug brings us.
Drugs, alcohol and all other addictive behaviors such as gambling, sex, video games, excessive exercise or even watching TV are often used to fill a void.
The relief that all these addictions can bring is that it can help us forget about our problems, find a place of comfort or enter a state of forgetfulness. But, unless we deal with the root of our problem, we will revert to our substance of choice or find a new replacement addiction.
Many people can relate to that feeling of needing a drink after a stressful day at work. The relief that drink provides is a temporary escape from all stress and problems.
If you face an addiction problem, that is, an excessive use of a substance or behavior that begins to negatively impact your life, rather than focusing on getting rid of the addiction, first focus your efforts on identifying what void you’re trying to fill.
Related posts—Spiritual voids.
Related posts – Signs of an addict
Problems bring gratitude The problems we face in our lives are helpful in many ways. One of the biggest benefits our problems bring is gratitude. A few months back, a friend and I had a friendly debate over the value of life’s lemons. “Dude, I know you’ve been going through a rough time lately. […] The post Problems bring gratitude appeared first on Eyes of an...
Problems bring gratitude
The problems we face in our lives are helpful in many ways. One of the biggest benefits our problems bring is gratitude.
A few months back, a friend and I had a friendly debate over the value of life’s lemons.
“Dude, I know you’ve been going through a rough time lately. I’m sorry.” A Whatsapp message highlights my iPhone’s screen. Stephanie is an amazing friend. She understands that you don’t always need to know the right things to say. Sometimes lending a willing ear can be all the support I need.
“Thank you! Yeah, it’s been a bit rough, but, in the end, it would all be worth it,” I respond.
“I suppose, still sucks though,” she replies.
“It does, but it’s time like these that make me look forward to the better times,” I tell her.
A few minutes pass without a message. I can see she’s typing, then stopping, then typing again.
Finally, the message comes through. “I don’t agree, hey. Why must you go through shit to enjoy the good times? Why not just enjoy the good times without having to suffer?”
“If life was always easy, then how would I appreciate the good times?” I ask her.
“Think about it. If I were to live this ‘seemingly perfect’ life, a life without any problems, then that would become my norm.”
“Yeah. I would become used to living this ‘wonderful’ life free of problems, so much so that it would become an expectation. Anything slightly short of a perfect life would leave me unhappy.” A quick glance over at this message and I press send.
“In fact, when I compare my problems to those of others, I realize that mine aren’t actually that bad. Not when we have kids starving in the rest of Africa, or people going to bed without a roof over their head,” I quickly add before she sends the next message.
“Yeah, but you can’t really compare your life with that of homeless kids. Its not really an even playfield. What about practising gratitude, instead of relying on the bad times to feel good about yourself or comparing yourself to others?”
I ponder over this question for the next few minutes, until, eventually, I respond.
“The bad times we are faced with help us appreciate the good times.”
“Maybe, but you didn’t answer my question. Why not just practice gratitude instead of relying on bad times?”
“If I can’t compare the situation I’m in with that of those less fortunate, then how do I know what I’m really grateful for?” I conclude.
The benefits of our problems
I’m a firm believer in the old cliché, everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything does happen for a reason. Sometimes, our happiness is stripped away from us and we feel as though it’s the end of the world.
If we were in a constant state of happiness, that euphoria will soon subside. In time, we wouldn’t know what happiness feels like, because we have become accustomed to living a perfect life. In fact, subconsciously, this perfect life becomes an expectation.
With that said, when we live these seemingly perfect lives and are one day faced with a surprise curveball, we wouldn’t know how to deal with it. If anything, we will be completely stripped of any happiness we still have left.
Trying times benefits us in many ways. We learn to overcome new obstacles, thus leading to growth. We also develop emotional resilience – a key tool to dealing with life’s challenges.
One of the greatest rewards we gain from our negative experiences is that it amplifies the good experiences.
To put this into perspective, consider the below example:
Mathew Dale comes from a well-off family. Growing up, money has never been an issue because the Dales were notoriously known for their wealth. He was faced with many other problems in his life, but money was never one of them. If anything, money sometimes made him unhappy, because it sparked a lot of resentment and jealousy among the people he considered friends. None of his other friends received a Jaguar F-type for their eighteenth birthday. When he turned 22, his father passed away, leaving Mathew with his entire inheritance.
Yes, Mathew is that good looking, young billionaire you read about in romance novels.
Abdul Haddad left Syria a few years back to start a new life in Australia. He certainly did not come from wealth, but left Syria with hopeful prospects of starting a new life.
Within 4 months of having landed in Australia, he was on a fast track to living the life he always dreamed about.
He was a cab driver. Sure it’s not the most glamourous of jobs, but he earned more than he could dream of.
Three months ago, the most dreadful thing happened as he walked out of his home to find his car was smashed. He suspects a truck rammed into it but had no proof. This little Toyota, now squashed to a size smaller than those old-school Beatles, was his only source of income and with no insurance to replace it, he found himself on the street two months later.
Today, he walks the streets of Melbourne searching for food and a place to work.
If you were to offer both Mathew and Abdul a $1000, who do you think would be more grateful?
Mathew might find it amusing, but the gratitude he has would be nowhere close to what Adbul would have.
Mathew does not live a life short of money, a $1000 wouldn’t have the slightest impact on his personal bank account. Therefore, he wouldn’t have a reason to be a truly grateful.
Abdul has lived a life short of money, and is now found walking on the streets in search of food and shelter. If you were to give him the $1000, he would most likely see it as a gift from God, perfect to try again and start a new life.
This not to say that Mathew is ungrateful. He might not know what it’s like to be poor, but he certainly knows what loneliness feels like. If you were to offer him time, he would be a lot more appreciative.
I now find comfort whenever I’m face with problems, because I know that these problems will help instil that much needed sense of gratitude when the good times do eventually roll in.
Confidence–a key to happiness Many of us strive to achieve confidence. We want to be confident in all aspects of our lives. Work, relationships, personal aspects. Confidence is an admirable trait that most strive to achieve. Confidence is one of my keys to happiness. Once we have established confidence in the areas of our lives […] The post Confidence – a key to happiness appeared first on Eyes of an...
Confidence–a key to happiness
Many of us strive to achieve confidence. We want to be confident in all aspects of our lives. Work, relationships, personal aspects. Confidence is an admirable trait that most strive to achieve.
Confidence is one of my keys to happiness. Once we have established confidence in the areas of our lives that matter the most to us, we are one step closer to finding true happiness.
What is confidence?
Confidence is having faith in an ability.
If you have faith in your ability to do something, then it’s backed up by your confidence.
Having faith in your ability to do something gives you the strength and perseverance needed to pursue it and ultimately, to achieve success.
Confidence makes performing tasks that much easier.
A doctor is confident he can treat his patients and give them sound and helpful information. A doctor confidently provides this medical advice because he has faith the advice he provides is both relevant and helpful.
It’s this confidence that allows for people to trust in the doctor.
If we faced a nervous, anxious doctor, we wouldn’t be as trusting. Despite his experience and qualifications, his lack of confidence makes it hard for him to become successful. People observe this lack of confidence and have a hard time trusting in his abilities to be of help.
Let’s go back to the confident doctor. The confident doctor speaks clearly and probably knows what’s wrong before you can even start identifying any symptoms.
Having confidence in his work is great, but does that make him a confident person overall? Not necessarily.
Most of us see confidence as something you either have or you don’t. Truth is, we are all confident in some parts of our life and completely lack any form of confidence in others.
The confident doctor may be confident with what he does for a living, but chances are if you were to ask him to audition for the next Disney on Ice musical, he might not be as confident.
This brings us to our first important point:
It’s not practical to be confident at everything.
It is completely natural to feel confident in some parts of our lives and not so confident in others.
I am confident in my ability to make people laugh or help people feel better when they’re feeling down.
If you were to ask me to help you decode some html script, then I’d probably give off a quirky giggle before changing the subject.
I have little to no confidence with any language not found in a dictionary.
Does this lack of confidence make me any less of a person? Does this lack of knowledge make me lazy or unambitious?
It does not.
At this point in my life, I don’t have an interest in programming. I find it fascinating, but it’s not high on my priority list of things to learn, right now.
Life is not one big DIY project, we focus on what we’re good at and love and outsource the things we not.
Because it’s not very important to me, it’s not something I’ve invested a lot of time in.
This brings us to the second point:
Confidence is gained through practice.
I’m sure we can all agree that nobody is born a programmer or a doctor. It takes months, if not, years worth of practicing before they became confident in their skills as either a programmer or a doctor.
Both the programmer and the doctor have one thing in common:
They discovered what they loved and decided it was worth investing time, money and loads of sacrifices to one day become confident in their skills.
Our third point:
Confidence is personal.
Besides practice, there really is no secret formula to confidence, but it’s crucial you choose to become confident at something you value, respect, long for, or love.
I have no interest in becoming a programmer. That doesn’t mean I can’t set out and learning everything about coding. We can learn anything we want, but ultimately, our success is determined by how badly we want it.
A quick brief recap:
The doctor’s confidence helps him succeed career-wise. It’s impossible for him to be confident with medical matters and everything else.
Most importantly, his choice to be confident at anything is a personal decision, and around something he loves and is dear to him.
Let’s go back to the confident doctor. We’ve established he is pretty confident at what he does for a living. Does this mean he’s found happiness?
The key to happiness does not just lie in his confidence professionally.
For him to find happiness, he needs to find confidence in all aspects of his life – all aspects important to him.
Let’s assume this doctor values time spent alone. He uses this time to meditate, which helps him clear his mind.
He values meditation, in fact, he loves it. The only problem is that he never seems to have enough time to do so and when he does, he can’t switch off and stop stressing about ‘time wasted.’
If he values time spent alone, then this doctor needs to build his confident around this aspect of his life.
How does he do that? Through practice. Because he is not used to allowing himself any ‘me’ time, the first few times he spends will be difficult. He will probably find himself restless or unable to stop worrying about work and everything else going on around him.
The more the doctor practices spending time alone, the easier it becomes. After a bit of practice, he reaches a state where his ‘me time’ is taken into consideration before agreeing to see any patient.
This is a simple, yet effective example of someone finding happiness within themselves through building confidence in what they love most.
Now I could have said, we need to find confidence in all aspects of our lives, professionally, in our relationships with ourselves, with others.
The above applies to me, but it would be naïve of me to assume I know which aspects of the doctor’s life mean the most to him.
Remember, confidence is personal and different people will want to achieve confidence in different aspects of their lives.
Provided you are completely honest with yourself and these areas complement a healthy self-esteem, only you can decide what areas are most important to you.
There are two things that contribute towards our self-confidence:
Self efficiency and self-esteem.
In the above paragraph, I mentioned that it’s important to build our confidence levels around what’s most important to us and what we love most, provided what you love compliments a healthy self-esteem.
You could loooove letting your inner asshole loose, but that does not mean you can now practice being rude to others, hoping you can one day confidently insult those around you. Furthermore, honing in on your skills to make those around you feel miserable will not make you happy and it certainly doesn’t contribute towards a positive self-esteem.
There are three rules to confidence.
1) It’s impractical to be confident at everything.
2) Confidence is only gained through practice.
3) Confidence is personal. Increase your confidence (through practice) around what’s important to you
Related posts: Confidence vs arrogance
Self-confidence vs arrogance Self-confident people have an attractive aura about them. Their positive and optimistic attitude towards life makes people want to be around them. We look up to these people and think, Wow! I want what she has! In fact, self-confidence is one of the biggest character traits most people strive to achieve. But […] The post Self confidence vs arrogance appeared first on Eyes of an...
Self-confidence vs arrogance
Self-confident people have an attractive aura about them. Their positive and optimistic attitude towards life makes people want to be around them.
We look up to these people and think, Wow! I want what she has! In fact, self-confidence is one of the biggest character traits most people strive to achieve.
But at what point does someone become too confident? At what point does your confidence work against you?
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is the ability for people to feel good about themselves and their abilities. It’s that feeling of trust within yourself, feeling secure in these abilities and the way they are presented to the world.
People are persuaded by those who speak confidently and hold their heads up high.
Self-confidence is also one of the most crucial character traits to have. It helps us tackle our fears and doubts. It helps reduce anxiety and positively contributes towards our emotional well-being.
The benefits of self-confidence are countless, but with all good things in life, too much can be detrimental.
Understanding the difference between self-confidence and arrogance
There’s a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. Many people fully believe they are self-confident, when in fact, the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way.
When we fall into the trap of becoming arrogant, nobody wants to be around us. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be around a smart-ass know-it-all.
How do you know if you have become arrogant and that you have mistakenly judged your arrogance for self-confidence?
This post is dedicated towards understanding the difference between self-confidence and arrogance to ensure we do not fall into the overly confident trap.
Both the self-confident person and the arrogant person are aware of their personal strengths and abilities, but there’s two key differences.
1) The confident person can see the abilities and good in others. The arrogant person only sees value in him/herself.
2) Self-confident people show their trust in their abilities through their actions. The arrogant person often feels the need to tell the rest of the world about their competencies.
From the above key differences, the main thing that stands out is that the confident person trusts and believes in themselves. The arrogant person has an inner, burning desire to share their skills, talents or looks with everyone else around them.
The relationships arrogant people get involved in is often superficial and shallow. Because the arrogant person seeks approval from others, they are also more likely to get involved in dangerous, co-dependant relationships.
In Buddhism, there is a belief that arrogance is judging one’s self-worth by means of others.
On the flip side, confidence is not a belief that one is always right or unable to fail. True confidence comes with willingness to be wrong, but also to know you’re okay if you don’t always get things right.
Over-confidence comes with a level of immaturity. You always have to be right and you always have to be better than the next person. When you’re not right, you’re not happy.
It’s as simple as that. Confidence is within and arrogance is based on external factors.
How to build self confidence
The good news is that self-confidence can be learned and built on. Whether you struggle with issues around your confidence or you’re arrogant. It’s not too late to turn that all around.
The key to building healthy self-confidence is by developing healthy habits.
As mentioned, self-confidence is a feeling of trust in your abilities. The only way you can trust your abilities is through practice. The best way to practice is when these actions become habits.
Exercise, eating well, getting quality sleep, decluttering all form part of healthy habits required to build self-confidence.
When we develop positive, healthy habits, we become comfortable performing these daily tasks.
It’s admirable to have knowledge of something. When you insist on sharing this knowledge with other people, your confidence become problematic.
Ultimately, arrogant people thrive on the approval of others. When that approval no longer exists, they are left feeling empty and worthless.
True confidence welcomes alternative perspectives. It’s rare that a confident person lectures or preaches to others about how they are wrong – those people are obnoxious, and no-one wants to be around them.
Strive to achieve self-confidence, not arrogance.
Who are you really helping? It’s been instilled in us that helping others can only be good for us, but at what point are we helping too much? At what point does our help become more destructive than beneficial? Here’s a small little truth: Our help is not always helpful. Despite our best intentions, our […] The post Who are you really helping? appeared first on Eyes of an...
Who are you really helping?
It’s been instilled in us that helping others can only be good for us, but at what point are we helping too much? At what point does our help become more destructive than beneficial?
Here’s a small little truth: Our help is not always helpful.
Despite our best intentions, our help can do more harm than good for both ourselves and the other person.
How do you know if your help is indeed helping or if it’s time you back off?
Benefits of helping people
Let’s not get it tangled. Helping others is not a bad thing. In fact, untold benefits arise when we help people.
Helping people allows us to feel happier and more connected to those we’re helping. It instills in us an understanding of gratitude. When we help people, we realize just how fortunate we are to be in a position to help others. It reminds us of the things we often take for granted, be it monetary, material possessions or even a piece of useful advice that had a positive effect on someone else’s life.
In my post on loneliness, I have shown how helping those that need the help can aid with the feelings of loneliness.
When we develop these social bonds by helping those less fortunate than us, it does wonders for any other illnesses or fears we have. It’s one of the best ways to fight off depression and that closeness with others, reduces our anxiety.
But, not all help is good. Let’s explore some of the dangers involved with unhealthy helping.
Dangers of helping too much
As with all things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad.
Many of us have never even considered all the harmful effects of helping others. In fact, we ignore all the negative effects because we know that by helping others, it makes us look like a good person.
Sometimes, feeling like a good person just doesn’t cut it anymore and we end up feeling miserable, even building resentments towards those we once loved helping.
Let’s discuss the dangers associated with helping people too much.
When our help makes us become reckless, it might be time to re-assess our help. It’s not unheard of that our help tests our integrity. We do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do to help others. Losing yourself whilst helping someone else, only harms you.
- Your help or giving prevents someone from growth.
There’s a fine line between helping someone and enabling them. When you help excessively, you rob that person of valuable life skills. In life, we only grow and develop based on lessons we’ve learned. A lot of what you know today is because of difficult lessons you had to learn. As a recovering addict, I learned a lot of the lessons I know today, only after I was allowed to fall and learn these lessons on my own. If I were to have someone hold my hand every time I messed up, I would never be where I am today.
It sounds harsh, but it’s true.
- Relationships take a toll
When you help someone excessively, it’s natural to build resentments towards the other person. You feel like that person has become a burden on you. You may even avoid the person completely in fear they want ‘something else.’ This relationship becomes very unhealthy and a clear lack of boundaries develop.
- Self sacrificing relationships become co-dependant
Your relationships become self-sacrificing and co-dependant. The person you’re helping no longer knows how to function on their own because they have become used to your constant help. In turn, you don’t know how to function without helping that person. When you’re no longer able to help, you feel useless or as if you no longer add any value to that person’s life.
- You ignore the negative side effects because it makes you “look like a good person.”
Even if we have started hating helping another, we still get something out of it. Recognition is one of the biggest rewards we get from helping others. Other people take note of our help and develop great admiration for us.
On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, but this also gives us a false sense of confidence.
- You constantly get ‘exploited’ because you allow it.
It’s easier to say NO the first time than to say after having said YES 50 times before that. When we don’t stand up for ourselves, people begin to take advantage of this. We may have offered our help as a once off good-hearted gesture, but it now becomes permanent.
It’s clear that helping too much work not only to our detriment, but to that of the person we’re trying to help.
The question is; when is it good to help people?
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, helping can be a fantastic thing. The point of this post is not to rob you of all the benefits you get when helping others, but rather to focus on healthy helping and to avoid helping too much.
Before you help someone next time, explore the below questions to decide whether your intentions will have a positive effect on not only the person you’re helping, but yourself.
As you grow older, you will discover you two helping hands—one is for helping yourself, the other for helping others—Audrey Hepburn
Before agreeing to help someone, ask yourself the below questions:
- Does the person really need your help?
- Are you being manipulated, in any way, to help this person?
- Does your help compliment this person, rather than replace their own efforts?
- Have you offered this person help in the past and they haven’t used the help as promised?
- Given your resources, is your help sustainable?
- Does this person appreciate your help, or has it become an expectation?
- If you agree to help, are you able to do so 100%? Do you have the resources, time and abilities to help this person?
Half-hearted attempts at helping someone can do more harm than good. One time help becomes permanent
Helping others can be beneficial, not only to that person but to yourself as well.
Be careful not to let your help do the exact opposite.
Our time is precious. Only help those that deserve the help.
Know when to help.
If people don’t care about you, they don’t deserve your help.
Know your worth. Know when you’re helping too much.
Awareness “I can’t believe you’re denying the fact that you’re hurting me!” She shouts. “What are you on about! What the hell did I do to hurt you?” He snaps. “I’m actually not sure if you’re trying to be funny, but whenever you make such comments about my mother, it hurts like hell. She responds. […] The post Things We Are Not Aware Of appeared first on Eyes of an...
“I can’t believe you’re denying the fact that you’re hurting me!” She shouts.
“What are you on about! What the hell did I do to hurt you?” He snaps.
“I’m actually not sure if you’re trying to be funny, but whenever you make such comments about my mother, it hurts like hell. She responds.
“Oh,” he says. “I did not realize that.” Feelings of guilt overcome him. He stares at his sobbing wife, not sure how to react.
Awareness is a great tool when it comes to dealing with life’s problems.
While awareness is a great thing it can also work to our detriment and does the opposite of what intended to do – to learn and grow from.
Too much awareness in too little time can be bad.
At that very moment we were blessed with the gift of awareness. That gift, in itself is wonderful – it’s a blessing.
That gift is a message from God or the universe or the higher power you believe in.The message?You have grown enough that I’m trusting you with your next task to conquer, learn and grow from.
I would love to hear your stories in the comments field below:
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