Feelings

Life can be painful. It can feel sharp and jagged to the touch. It can seem dark and glib, filled with uncertainty after uncertainty. Your heart will break more than once. You will never know if now is the right time or if this is the right decision. And I want you to know that you will get through the darkness, the uncertainty, the heartbreak, and the loss. 

I Want You To Know - Carolyn Rubenstein - A Beautiful Ripple Effect

There is no trick or secret hidden within the depths of the loftiest academic journals of psychology. There is no knowledge you are missing. I promise you. I want you to know that you have everything you need, within you.

The human ability to persevere is truly astounding. You are not the sole exception. You can persevere. You need to persevere in order to get through the darkness, to live with light and joy. You deserve to feel true moments of glee, even if they pop up against the dark sky. Fill the dark sky with shining stars and create light in your life. I want you to know that you can let go of the need to suffer.

To feel is human. To equate your worth with your feelings is irrational. You are so much more than your feelings, your emotions. You are the container holding them, nothing more. I want you to know that you are not your feelings. 

Try Try Try on Etsy by Ines Rocio

I want you to know that baby steps matter, a lot. Forward and backward—movement means you are trying. To try is the most powerful thing you can do.

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image one: two rubies (etsy) [added text]

image two: ines rocio (etsy)

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This video is so very beautiful. It’s a short snippet from an interview Oprah did with India Arie. India Arie radiates genuine inner confidence that may just give you chills.

After watching the video, I wrote a few words in reflection (shared below).

Take time to let yourself simply be—as you are, without fixing or looking for a new direction. Sink into the present moment—approach life in the here and now—breathe in clarity, breathe out confusion. Let yourself feel grounded and supported, rooted into the rich soil of the universe.

And remind yourself that the universe will rise up to meet you. Trust the process.

… If the video doesn’t show up, you can see it on youtube.

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Jun 19

Quoted No. 34

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… more quotes in the quoted series and on the quoted pinspiration board

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Have you ever been hurt or betrayed by someone you trusted? Have you ever been so badly hurt that your life felt consumed by how you could possibly move on in such an unjust world? I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people experience betrayal in some form—some more than others and some more intensely than others. But we don’t need to measure our betrayal(s) against one another because the thing about being betrayed: it is intensely personal (which is what makes it so very difficult to experience and process). It doesn’t look the same for everyone and our reactions can range from numbness to hysteria.

Inspiring Socrates Quote

Intensely personal. How do you move forward after someone has betrayed your trust? How do you react? Below is a list of some of the common reactions (from my perspective, as someone who has been deeply betrayed and someone who has helped others who have been deeply betrayed—in no way is this list comprehensive).

… Why me?

… This is not fair.

… How could s/he do this…to me?

… What is wrong with me?

… I will never let someone do that to me again.

… I need to make this person feel the way they made me feel.

… I can’t believe this person did this to me.

… I don’t know what to do, how to react?

… I don’t want other people to think they can do this to me too.

… I feel like I’m not good enough.

… How will I ever move forward, away from this pain?

These questions are constantly brewing, and the urge to answer them is strong yet scary. We often react with anger, an emotion that is very difficult to understand. The anger can manifest as different emotions—making the situation even more confusing. Sitting still and letting go don’t feel like options—your emotions have been amplified and you are clear that someone else put you in this state. This knowledge can seem liberating (you can clearly identity the cause and the effect), but really it shackles you to the memory of the pain.

Looking back, I’ve been hurt by others on different occasions, but really only betrayed once. This one betrayal puts the other betrayals into perspective, as tiny blips on my radar. After I was betrayed by someone I trusted, I felt anger and did what I do best: research. And just in time, Revenge (the tv show) began to air. I had another word to add to my growing anger vocabulary: Revenge. I vowed to myself that I would make sure that no one experienced what I experienced, because that felt more politically correct and emotionally mature than making someone pay for what I went through emotionally.

And here is where I want to insert a disclaimer, being hurt by another person—to be betrayed by someone you trust—is intensely personal. The words I share should not be seen as advice but merely one perspective of countless. Because for some people, action needs to be taken and there is no shame at all in taking action.

But for me, I got lost in my anger. And with the lapse of time, I subsumed other people into my anger—how could others so easily forget what had been done or feel that time heals all wounds? Time didn’t heal my wounds and actually made them worse. I felt more isolated by the betrayal and felt that I was weak because I did nothing. The anger turned inwards and this is when I felt the real betrayal—turning against myself.

It was this realization that altered my perspective and allowed me to see the bigger picture, to practice self-compassion. Until this switch occurred, I felt very much like a victim without a voice. I felt like power had been stripped from me. I felt lost in my own life. And it’s only now, when I reflect on this period of time that I realize I let myself change into this person. I lost all confidence. And I guess I am not a good actress because I could not hide this lack of confidence from others. It wasn’t until I forced myself to get uncomfortable and think like my old self in a high stakes situation that I finally felt like I was beginning to regain my stripes. And regain my stripes I did. It took well over a year to rebuild my trust in myself and to recognize that my self-worth could not and would not be changed by another person. Most importantly, I learned to protect myself—from self-betrayal.

Reacting to betrayal is messy and very uncomfortable. There is no timeline. Others typically don’t understand what you are going through because you experience the pain internally and try to hide the weaknesses and your vulnerability. I know what a privilege it is when someone lets me help them during this period, to create a safe space to process the raw emotions they are experiencing without much clarity. There is no simple solution or plan. There are questions and there is uncertainty. And what I find myself asking others is this:

… How can you begin to practice self-compassion during this uncertainty?

… How can you sit with the questions without getting angry at yourself?

… How can you let yourself feel the emotions as they come without judging yourself?

… How can you serve as your own protector?

Because at the end of the day, we cannot control the actions of anyone but ourselves (logically we know this, emotionally we need to remind ourselves of this lesson repeatedly). We can’t change the past or even forget it. It’s there and it’s going to remain there. Your position however is up to you—one day at a time.

My story is still unfolding. I sit with uncertainty and questions, but they are no longer laced with anger or a need to know the million dollar question: why. I’m okay with the answer as it is today: I don’t know why. Emotional pain is the wisest teacher I’ve ever had. And yes, for that I am grateful—for the lessons I learned, some I wish I could unlearn but know that is impossible.

inspiring life quote by douglas adams

Writing these words and reflecting on this time is still uncomfortable for me. There is no tidy ending or ribbon to tie together the truths gained during this period. I need more distance to gain greater clarity. With each step forward, my new foundation is strengthened and my perspective broadened. I could wait until this foundation is perfectly formed to share a tidy beautiful fairy tale ending with you, but that would be a charade that I would not want others just beginning this path to see. Because life does not conform to our carefully laid plans. Everyday, we must dig deep and embrace the experiences we are given with courage and wholehearted honesty.

Always remember, what you are experiencing is intensely personal. 

images: splendid and sound (prints available for purchase on etsy)

:: follow a beautiful ripple effect on bloglovin’

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Over the past few months, I have truly neglected blogging. Writing here is such a large part of my identity that this unintentional time away has felt very strange.

I wrote the words above on a piece of paper yesterday and began writing without a clue as to where I would end up. It took me two pages of justifying to myself why I’ve neglected the blog to get to my “AHA” moment. Those two pages of nonsense—totally worth it!

What I Realized: Simply stated, I am not superwoman. I know, a very disappointing realization :). Not so simply stated, I recognized a pattern. In the past, I have pushed myself with no self-imposed boundaries, which led to lots of health issues. Now that I’m setting more boundaries for myself, important things (like blogging and two rubies, now on etsy!) have been neglected. I have blamed myself for not finding a way to make it all work; however, I realize (finally) that I need to approach this new and healthier phase differently. And different means flexing new muscles and persevering through growing pains.

What Does Different Look Like? Or… How Do I Get My Blogging Mojo Back?

First, I need to be vulnerable, to be open about what I’m experiencing. Silence serves no one. Next, I need to ask for help—using what I’ve learned in the past from failed “asks.” I need to ask differently, approach this new phase with more intention.

What I Know: I need a right-hand woman (or man, but my hubby may get upset since he’s my right hand man!) to join my team. I’ve worked with incredible virtual assistants in the past, but no one has really been a partner for me—someone passionate about the work and willing to help steer the boat rather than just paddle. I am an imperfect perfectionist who hates to delegate. And this is the struggle, I need someone who is willing to move through the growing pains with me as I learn to let go of feeling guilty about delegating.

What I Don’t Know: I don’t know how I will find “my person.” But just recognizing that I can’t do everything I want to do alone is liberating. It gives me hope for this new phase of my life. I am open to matchmakers! If you know someone (or think you may be “my person”) who will make my heart flutter with delight, please email me (carolynblog@me.com) and tell me why you’re my match :). I never got to explore the online dating world so I can pretend this is my little online dating experience!

Life Online

… While I haven’t been blogging or tweeting, I have been spending time online. Primarily, I’ve been feeding my addiction (pinterest) and getting hooked into instagram. I love looking into the daily lives of inspiring individuals and connecting through images. I would love to connect if you’re on instagram, my username is crubenstein :). Below is a collage of a few recent images I’ve posted on instagram.

… I have used Google Reader forever to read blogs and am so sad it’s closing on July 1st. If you’re looking for a new feed reader, I’ve explored quite a few and found bloglovin’ to be my favorite. If you’re transitioning from Google Reader to Bloglovin’, check out this post on how to switch with ease.

Thank you so much for your patience and support while I navigate this new phase of blogging. I know it’s only going to change for the better with a partner in inspiration to help me steer! After 4.5 years of blogging, I think it’s time for some positive shifts!

Wishing you a happy start to June!
Carolyn

top photo: photo credits here

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