January 8, 2020 at 2:52 pm #14320Bailey VincentKeymaster
QUESTION: How do you handle criticism about your health and body?
I wrote a column discussing my anxiety with encountering trolls online, and can’t help but wonder… how does one become a troll? Do trolls even know they’re trolls?
In my case, the most negative people are often those that are also sick, despite assuming we’d be the most compassionate. We should know, above everyone else, that no one experiences sickness or its impacts in the same way. And, frankly, no one should.
So why do we all criticize one another for being even the slightest bit different? What has that ever achieved in the history of achievements?
Even so, we are all entitled to our opinion. Heck, if someone said I’m a terrible writer, or bad dancer, or had questionable bone structure, or use too many ellipses… I would understand their right to these feelings. However, when someone attacks another for their actual biology- their genetic material and mass- I don’t really get the point?
Can I take that critique and fix my DNA? Nope. Can I make you feel better about what I can’t control (my body), which in no way impacts you and your body? Not really.
I would much rather be disliked for the great many things I need to work on and improve (ellipses not withstanding), than for the matter that doesn’t really matter to most.
What about you?
January 11, 2020 at 7:56 am #14345Paul met DebbieParticipant
The best way to handle it, is not. Don’t believe it (unless there is some truth in it, but mostly it stems from ignorance. Your intuition will know the difference). So forgive them, they do not know what they are doing/saying/believing. They are ignorant. It happens a lot, it is a condition that really goes around much these days on this planet. Some things seem to be not working out very well because of that. Don’t take them seriously, and don’t take yourself seriously either.
This is a world where people are told (and they believe it) that life is some “thing” happening “to you” that you can (and must) work on it to make it perfect, to improve upon. That you can (and should) have control over it and make it the best. If you don’t meet this expectation (and you might be your own worst critic), it is blamed on you not having done your proper job. Because everyone believes that you can fix your body (including the brainy part), your career, your relation(s), your mind – in short: your past, your present and your future. So why don’t you just do that? There is no reason not to be perfect, so if you are not, you are doing it wrongly. And there are always some people willing to tell you this, especially on the internet, not because they mean well and want to help you, but only because it makes them feel right and better than you. For a short moment it relieves their own fear and anxiety. (Eckhart Tolle calls this function of the ego: The Pain Body – great analysis).
Furthermore, people who seem to “fall short” in the controlled-success story (this group is getting ever larger by the way, because no one can keep up the unrealistic and unnatural standards that are being set by the virtual system), are threatening to this way of thinking, especially if there is no real explanation to be found, or the causes of their “failure” are not clear on the outside. Even (or more so) if they “fall short” because of known circumstances that clearly lay beyond their own control or fault (e.g. disease), this is felt as a threat, because someone that still believes in the story, gets frightened: “This might happen to me also? Some other one is apparently doing “sub-standard” and yet I don’t understand why, would this mean the story of controllability is false, have I been following the wrong ideas all along? Noooo, this can’t be true, I rather uphold my dream-story than look clearly and admit my own fragility and shortcomings”. In order to uphold the story, they must than troll the sub-standard being and tell it that it is all his/her own fault or at least give it some (superficial) advise on how to improve their sorry and self-caused situation. Then they can safely pursue their own illusions (until of course they “fail” themselves, and even then they think their failing is perfectly explainable and excusable, while others are failing because of a lack of dedication. This is even easier if they really don’t know this sorry person very well and/or if they can be anonymous (or hard to be found), like on the internet.
Of course, this is all an illusion of the mind, enforced by society, science, statistics, advertising, moneymaking industry etc. It is a mass-psychosis. In reality, there is no control. My efforts to control life amount to nothing. Life is just happening in its un-knowable (and divine) way. I could even die before finishing this article, where is the control in that? Even that would not be a mistake or failure. Life does not have any absolute standards that can be failed. Nothing needs to be cured. Every thing and every one is unique and complete (not perfect, that’s a mind-thing which does not exist) in its own way. Just zoom out. Whatever happens, it is supposed to be. Our not understanding this is not relevant, because it is un-knowable.
Why don’t we believe this? It’s scary. We love the control-illusion. We rather suffer by trying to control and fail, than surrender. Yes we know ultimately we will fail and die (that is, the body will), but not now, not today, not in a terrible way but elegantly with grace, and today is safe, I have taken my meds, done my therapy, eaten my biological fruit and vegetables and brushed my teeth, washed my hands and been nice to my family, cleaned the house and petted the dog. That must count for something, no? Dream on (please).
Yet (talking about dreaming), it is good to notice that every night every one of us voluntarily gives up all control and the entire illusion, including our own sense of self and drama, when we close the eyes in bed and go to sleep. We even long for this experience every evening. We say this is because the body is tired from doing. I think it is because the body is tired of the mind and being pushed around by it, or even the mind is tired of itself (for a while). We long to surrender control. And we fall asleep and the whole world with all its problems disappears. Just because we choose to enter into a different dimension of consciousness.
So there is another way of looking at this. It is the only real solution. Turn away from the control-illusion and enter reality to the full. You don’t have to wait until sleep, do it when you are awake (this is called becoming awake to yourself)! If there is no control, no standards, and life happens no matter what and despite our doings and wiggling’s, isn’t that also the Ultimate Freedom we are looking for? This is how life is supposed to be. No one to criticize. Unconditional acceptance. And ultimate surprise. Isn’t this like a sort of free-fall? We are falling, everything around us is also falling, circumstances are just happening, there is nowhere to find any real hold, nor do we need to, we just jumped out of the plane naked with no chute and no idea when (or if) we will hit rock bottom or what will happen then … WOW! We only have to trust that this is what is supposed to happen and stop thinking about it. Just be a gracious witness. We will never grasp it. This is what life is really about. No matter what happens, it will be all right. For us, for every one, for the system. Don’t worry about being a leaf blown around by the wind – you are also the whole tree and the wind, aren’t you?
So, you cannot be sub-standard. Because there is no standard. Not for the body, not for the mind. A body with CF (or any other “disease”) is complete and doing its job wonderfully, just like any other body (perhaps even better – oh no, let’s not go there). You do what you do. Enjoy it. Don’t compare, don’t complain, don’t compete. Just comply. The result will be the same, but there is much more joy, compassion, peace. In body/brain and mind. No guarantees, only that what surprisingly ever happens. You are it. You are not a thing, not a person, you are one of nature’s perfect happenings going on. Unpredictable, unknowable, miraculous. In fact, you are total nature going on. What could go wrong?
And for those that still insist that, despite of all of these insights, they experience a lot of suffering when not deep asleep: could it be that you are not experiencing suffering, but you suffer your experiences? There is a choice in that, because suffering is a state of mind. Explore the mind and try to find out, who is the one that claims to be suffering. It doesn’t exist, it is an attitude. So is criticizing, or complaining, competing or comparing. They are all very unfortunate ways of observing.
Try to just be. Life is so much more joyful and simple that way. Everything will still go on, nothing is lost. Only now it feels much more effortless and natural. There is so much to gain. So tomorrow, when you wake up in the morning, do a short meditation, then get up and leave the mind in your bed. Enter life coming from freedom, not from a conditioned mind. If only for a day. Don’t worry about losing your mind, it will wait for you in the bed. Just see what happens.
(I may have elaborated a bit beyond the questions. I too love writing.)
January 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm #14423WilliamParticipant
I can’t top either of your output here (or ideas…I am completely spent today). That said, I don’t think Bailey should apologize for her ellipses!
January 24, 2020 at 8:10 am #14459WilliamParticipant
“Wow. That’s bad news. Good info. Did you know slime mold aggregation behavior is modulated by R-Tryptosan, not the Beta subunits but the Alpha subunits. Anyway, did you know an elephant truly never forgets? Never been to Brazil. You?”
That’s all I’ve got.
I sometimes string together stream-of-consciousness nonsense combined with occasional hard truths. I don’t advise this, but people think I’m crazy anyway. That was my “armor” when I was a kid, the “crazy, funny one.” It’s only when I’m serious that people hate me.
That last line, intended as a throwaway, came out of nowhere for me. Interesting…
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