Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, is one of unspeakable horror. The latest in what appears to be an alarming trend of mass murders in American communities is, in my mind, the most gruesome - due not only to the sheer numbers of lives lost but more significantly because of the tender ages of the smallest victims.
Since the Columbine massacre in April of 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Kliebold stormed their high school and murdered fifteen students and teachers and wounded twenty-four more, little has been done to secure the safety of our children. Metal detectors, security cameras, SRO's in the hallways of our schools offer little protection against one determined to commit a heinous act. Neither will gun control, tougher sentencing of the accused or even capital punishment serve as a deterrent to those filled with evil intent. We have put a bandaid on the problem rather than treating the underlying illness behind the carnage of our people.
I was blessed to grow up in the 50's and 60's - a time when a parent's most urgent concern for their children was "Look both ways before crossing the street." Acts of violence in rural America were a rarity, not a common occurrence. But violence is only a symptom of a much deeper rooted problem: for decades our country has been in a state of extreme moral decay.
We have become a nation of self-centered, ego-driven, rude, arrogant, self-righteous people who have lost all regard for our fellow Americans. We care more about getting what we want even at the expense of others. We are a nation where power, greed, and ego take precedent over decency, compassion, and kindness. We have turned away from our religious and spiritual roots and chosen to live life on our own terms. God has become offensive to some and His Commandments obsolete and irrelevant in a modern-day world."Love your God; love your neighbor as yourself; do not kill." Totally archaic.
We have turned our backs on God and continually violate His Laws. And then we're shocked when horrific events occur. That's akin to exceeding the speed limit and then being surprised when a police officer issues you a citation. Laws are created for a reason and God's Laws are absolute.
We have filled our hearts with hate. We glorify anger and violence, rudeness, and the infliction of pain on others as forms of entertainment then smugly proclaim satisfaction when someone gets what they deserve. We judge and label those who are different, those who are struggling with personal demons, those who do not live up to our personal standard of excellence. We feel justified in seeking revenge on anyone who has offended us and have become oblivious to (and even more shocking) indifferent to the suffering we cause others.
In our arrogance we have sanctimoniously appointed ourselves qualified to assign importance to those we deem worthy and devalue those who do not meet our criteria. A loyal friend is held in higher esteem than one who refuses to repay a loan made to them in good faith. A father who works hard to provide for his family then succumbs to alcohol to cope with stress is lowered on the scale of humanity. An unborn child, unable to sustain themselves independently as of yet, is less significant than the mother carrying her.
Our ego has deceived us into believing that we have a right to live life in whatever manner serves us best. We can do what we want, when we want, however we want. If others don't like it oh well, too bad. That's not our problem. Our rights, feelings, and needs override that of our brothers and sisters. We have a right to be cruel, mean or hateful to those who offend us. People must earn our respect and even then, we choose who we bestow this honor upon. Respect ("to value") is doled out according to our personal evaluation of each individual's merit: some have greater value, some - none at all.
We have devalued human life and therein lies the root of evil in this world. We are all God's sacred children, scarred and struggling, but no less precious in His eyes. Who among us was given authority to redefine another's worth?
The massacre in Columbine, the slaughter of thirty-two at Virginia Tech, the recent mass murders in a movie theater in Aurora and a mall in Oregon haven't been enough to wake this country up. Will the bloodied bodies of twenty precious babies and the heroes who gave their lives to protect them be the pivotal moment that reminds us of the reverence for all human life?
We don't need to fear the end of the world or the so-called "fiscal cliff". We plunged off the "spiritual cliff" decades ago and now must climb back up. It is not our government's responsibility to fix this problem. They are powerless to repair what is broken within each of us. We, as individuals, must make a commitment to return to a life of high moral integrity.
The keys to preventing more bloodshed in this country are a return to the moral and spiritual dictates of God, to live lives filled with compassion, kindness, acceptance, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and love; to be a reflection of God's presence in this world and to treat all of His children with the same dignity and tender care that He does. Only when love for all becomes the standard measure of a life well lived will we defeat hatred, destruction, and evil.
We are here to be healers to one another. With the grace and guidance of God, we can achieve this goal. Let THIS be the new American dream. Go back to your houses of worship. Read and live the words of the Bible. Raise your children in the ways of the Lord. Be the example of kindness and love for others to follow.
Rest assured: our precious little angels are resting safely in the arms of our Heavenly Father while we are left to clean up this mess we have made. God help us. Lord knows, we need it.
God gave His only Son so that we may have life. Let not the loss of these babies be in vain. Let their lives inspire us to truly learn how to love.
By Janet Pfeiffer, copyright 12-18-12, Pfeiffer Power Seminars, LLC
Please feel free to copy this article in it's entirety and share with all you know.
Words of Wisdom:
"We cannot be a world at peace until we are first a people of peace." - Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Let all that you do be done in love."
Ghandi: "I must first be the change I want to see in the world."
Prayer of St. Francis: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love."
"When the power of Love becomes more important than the love of power the world will know peace."
The comic strip character, Pogo, once said "We have met the enemy and his is us."
Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to defeat your enemy is to make him your friend."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A recent email announcement sent to my entire database promoting my latest book, The Great Truth: Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose, prompted two angry responses. In both cases, the recipients took offense to my alleged claim that I have somehow miraculously uncovered a mysterious truth others are not privy to. The back cover of my book jacket makes the following statements: The purpose of life is not what we have been led to believe - to be happy, successful, pursue our passion, etc. While each of these has value, they are not the reason we are here. I promise that once you understand Life’s Great Truth and the Universal Sole Purpose of Life you will possess a guaranteed map for effortless living and will see your lives transformed in ways unimaginable. Everything else will follow.
One person called me "too self-assured", questioning how I could be so confident in knowing such a Truth. The other commenced to describe her life of extreme hardship and the injustices she had endured, comparing her tragic life to my (supposed) life fraught with nothing more than "stupid relationship issues". She concluded her two paragraph rant with "I would love to hear how you can make me the star you appear to be because I certainly don't have your POWER!!!!!!" Admittedly she confessed to being very cynical about "these kinds of self-help books wanting to get someone to love them!"
I know pain, insecurity, unhappiness, fear, jealousy, resentment, and bitterness when I see it. And I know enough not to take personal offense to the anger and sarcasm others spew at me. But not everyone is able to do this and some may easily be insulted by the rude and ignorant comments of others. In both cases it was crystal clear to me that each person was dealing with some serious unresolved personal issues and my claims triggered what they have not yet come to terms with. (Behavior is simply an outward expression of our internal issues.) I also understand that neither individual knows anything at all about me: they are unfamiliar with my lectures, haven't read any of my books or articles, and do not know my life's story which contains significant amounts of pain and suffering. To make unsubstantiated and outrageous claims against a person one is unfamiliar with is sadly a reflection of that person's insecurities and lack of knowledge.
There are six surefire ways of offending someone and alternative ways of expressing how we feel.
1. Make unsubstantiated, absurd or inaccurate accusations and assumptions. Or - research and gather facts.
2. Call the other party insulting names. Or - treat them with dignity and respect.
3. Be judgmental, label them disparagingly. Or - give them the benefit of the doubt, be sensitive to their situation, feelings, beliefs, etc.
4. Be indifferent to their pain and suffering. Or - be sensitive and compassionate.
5. Criticize their success, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Or - appreciate and recognize their accomplishments.
6. Be sarcastic, have a bad attitude. Or - be reasonable and fair.
Life is filled with choices. Making the kind ones requires the same amount of energy but yields far better results.
Pick up a copy of The Secret Side of Anger at www.PfeifferPowerSeminars.com.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
PTSD is a very serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. It can cause feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror resulting from a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. It is not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD to occur weeks, months or even years after the event.
Symptoms of PTSD include
- Reliving the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. Reminders of the trauma can cause extreme distress.
- Avoiding people, places, thoughts, or situations that remind them of the trauma. This, however, can lead to feelings of isolation, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. Avoidance does not allow for a healing of the trauma.
- Heightened arousal can included excessive emotions, problems relating to others, sleep disturbances; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being easily frightened. Physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea and diarrhea can also occur.
In recent years, treatment for PTSD has shown great hope, allowing individuals to heal from, not just manage, the trauma. Treatment includes:
- Exposure Based Treatment which encourages the person to discuss the experience and all related feelings. Staying with the emotions and learning how to process them causes the fear to dissipate or change into a more manageable feeling.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy re examines any negative beliefs related to the trauma and replaces them with more realistic ones. An example might be: after a natural disaster, feeling as though one is incapable of rebuilding their life and being happy to "I have the ability and resources to recreate my life, although it may be significantly different than before, to one that is rewarding and enjoyable."
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps the individual to identify the feelings associated with the trauma and rather than avoiding them, discover new ways of coping that allow them to regain their lives. By focusing on core values, they can select behaviors that are more empowering and beneficial.
This is only a brief synopsis of my interview with Dr. Holly Parker, licensed psychologist from Harvard University. If you or someone you know would benefit from working with a PTSD specialist, please reach out to Dr. Holly or someone in your area. There is hope. No one needs to suffer from a traumatic experience. Avoidance and denial don't heal. Facing it with a trained professional will. Feel it so you can heal it.
Contact Dr. Holly Parker at DrHolly@hollyaparker.com or follow her on Facebook at Dr. Holly Parker.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
ANGER TURNED INWARD: RESEARCH NOTES
My interview with Cloe Jonpaul
Anger Turned Inward Quiz
• _ I don’t like to hurt anybody’s feelings.
• _ Other people might get mad, but I don’t.
• _ It’s hard for me to really care about myself.
• _ Sometimes I might act a little unhappy if I feel angry.
• _ I tell myself I shouldn’t get angry even if somebody else would.
• _ When I say somebody makes me sick, I mean it literally. I just can’t let go of the stress.
• _ All I really want is peace with no conflict.
• _ Even when I’m angry with someone, I feel like I should make sure they are doing okay.
• _ I get mad at myself for things I would comfort others about.
• _ Other people don’t know I wear a mask, because I am so good at it.
• _ Usually I just keep all my feelings to myself.
• _ I feel guilty when I feel angry or resentful.
• _ I am ashamed of myself when I get angry. I should be better than that.
• _ I’m too busy to take care of myself, even if I know I should.
• _ I’m always doing things wrong.
• _ I have an addictive behavior I use when I’m angry. It makes me feel better at the moment, but later I feel worse.
• _ I tend to have accidents when I get angry, like hammering my finger.
• _ Some days I get so angry that I would like to hurt myself.
• _ If I hurt myself, maybe other people won’t hurt me.
• _ It’s hard for me to care about myself.
• _ I don’t care what I do, just so long as I don’t hurt anybody else.
Put a check mark next to the statements that apply to you. Count them. If you have three or more items checked, look at how you can change to treat yourself better. If you have six or more check marks, it’s likely that you have some anger-turned-inward habits that affect your life negatively. If you have eight or more check marks, you definitely have some anger-turned-inward habits to change. Changing a few things could make you feel a lot better about your life.
http://www.newharbinger.com/Blog/tabid/36/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/239/anger-turned-inward.aspx OFF THE COUCH
15% of depressed individuals will commit suicide - the final act of desperation and an avoidable, treatable condition.
Depression limits your ability to make even simple functional decisions – like what to have for dinner. It’s no way to live.http://emptyyourcup.com/blog/stress-relief-from-depression-rage-turned-inward/
Cecil McIntosh, The EYC™ Stress Relaxation Expert with 14 years of experience helping Entrepreneurs like you, stay focused, get more done and find more time, so that you can live in the moment. He is a published author of many audio Relaxation Programs using accelerated learning approaches and a Teacher, NLP Trainer and life Coach. You can reach Cecil at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Philip Gold of the American National Institute of Mental Health was able to prove that stress and depression trigger the release of emergency hormones, causing brittle bones, infections and even cancer. Brittle bones are a major cause of death among women today. In many people, these stress hormones are no longer merely triggered occasionally but they are kept at constant ‘hyper-readiness’. When they are turned on and stay on for a long time, they destroy appetite, impair the immune system, block sleep, break down bone and shut down the processes that repair cell tissue.
The latest findings in the field of Neuroscience have shown that levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that is linked to the experience of pleasure, are 20-25 percent lower in patients who are at high risk of suicide. Serotonin is particularly active in a part of the brain that controls inhibition, and a lack of the neurotransmitter, or its related chemicals, lowers the amount of control a person has over his actions. This predisposes a person to act on suicidal thoughts.
Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.
Andreas Moritz IT’S TIME TO COME ALIVE
Anger is an emotional response to a situation. Feeling angry is no more harmful than feeling happy; it takes your brain only 100 milliseconds to have an emotional reaction to something. It takes the next 500 milliseconds for the cortex of our brain to recognize that reaction [source: Johnson]. It's how you respond to feeling angry that matters. You could express it outwardly (you tend to let your feelings out) or you could express it inwardly (you tend to bottle your feelings up).
As many as 12 percent of people with major depression end up committing suicide [source: Friedman].
Sometimes, though, the depression-anger link can seem to work the other way around. Think of the common saying regarding depression: "Depression is anger turned inward." When you feel angry, that feeling is often derived from a sense of hurt, and an angry person may seek to pass that hurt on, or take drastic action to change the anger-inducing situation.
However, when it's externally directed, anger doesn't effect fundamental change in the perception of your situation. Instead, that anger may eventually be directed inward, toward a new found object of hatred: yourself. At that point, self-pity can't be too far behind as you dwell on the inherent unfairness of life, or on the hopelessness of the situation.