Tag Archives: emotional safety

Bad News, Good News: How to Change Your Perspective When a Relationship Ends

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

hands

Good news and bad news are matters of perspective. 

Bad news:  Friendships and marriages do not always last.  

Good news:  We have power over our response.

One possibility is to hide.  In our houses, under a workload, or staring at a phone, we can wear cold smiles, vowing no one again will get close enough to cause us pain.  Such a decision rarely works for our best.  Loneliness grows when we disconnect.  

A healthier choice is to reach out despite our feelings. Bruised and weak,  anger, confusion, self-loathing, or a depressed mood may fill our days.  Making a call,  sending a text,  or meeting up with friends is challenging when we hurt. It is risky too.

Yet this is the very reason  to reach out. We need support, second opinions, and distraction from our troubled thoughts. 

Create your good news

How does one reach out knowing something unpleasant might happen? We just do.  A therapist once suggested that to fight isolation I go to a convenience store late at night and chat with a clerk. Going to church, speaking with co-workers, attending a local game – each idea has merit. Sometimes helping others through volunteerism is a positive way to escape a self-protective cage. 

Small steps are monumental when recovering from damaged trust. Since emotional safety does matter, take time to observe a person in social situations before leaping into a full friendship. Listen for clues to his or her attitude and notice character traits.  Once the safety test is passed, seize the opportunity to trust again. It is the best bet we have.

When a friendship or marriage is lost, we may feel alone. This can change. Let us hope instead of hide, and find as well as be the kind of people we want to know.

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

Wise Advice for Finding Emotionally Safe Listeners

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

It seems a healthy idea to think through our choices of confidants.  Not everyone is safe. 

So-called friends who gossip and speak insultingly of you behind your back are not trustworthy. Unfortunately, because they want to be in-the-know, you may find them close by when you need to share.

Don’t.

You can recognize them by their choice of words or tone when they talk about others. A woman asked recently about defining gossip. Gossip is talking about a person behind their back without his or her permission. One article, Bible Verses About Gossip*, says it  this way, “Whether the people talking didn’t mean direct harm, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings. Gossip can be defined as information about the behavior or personal life of other people, often without the full truth revealed or known.”

I made a costly mistake confiding in a woman  who often told me about intimate troubles of other people.  Seeing the problem, I rationalized it away.  Later I realized she shared even the most private of confessions and admissions with her husband. She inserted negative judgments into half-true stories she told  mutual friends. 

It pays to feel out a person’s attitudes before opening up. With regard to mental health topics, simple questions like, “What do you think about all the talk on mental illness in the news these days?” will help reveal stigmatized views. 

Take your time. Look at character traits. What have you witnessed?  Does this person have control over her tongue or is she opinionated to a fault?  Does he patronize or condescend?

When we are in pain, or blinded by a desperate need to trust, we may rationalize the behavior of others.  This is normal. I encourage you to develop a carefully selected group of friends who over time prove they are safe.  It is also a good idea to have a therapist or pastor in your corner. 

Once you have a trustworthy support system,  take a risk. We do need each other, after all. 

Today’s Helpful Word

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*Bible Verses About Gossip. Compiled and Edited by BibleStudyTools Staff on 2/4/2015. Retrieved on May 5, 2018 from https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/

 

Safe at Last!

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2012  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

mwmzzmcThe car was large and brown. That’s all the recollection I have besides the shape and blurred face of a man calling me from the driver’s seat.

I was walking home from Kindergarten by myself, a three-quarter mile stroll I was rarely in a hurry to complete. Swinging a little bag with each step, observing the surrounding world, I became aware of a car following me.

It was going the speed of a sauntering five year-old, and after a few minutes pulled up alongside.

“Hey little girl, you want a ride?” The man was leaning to face me.

“No” I said. “I’m almost home.”

“C’mon, I’ll take you there faster.”  

“No.” This time I was less surprised and more wary.

He said something about my mother in an angrier tone.  “Get in, I’ll take you to her.” 

Earlier in the school year, a program called “Block Homes” was begun as a safety net for children walking home from school. Parents who were willing to provide safe havens placed a sign in a front window indicating this was an escape route for kids facing an emergency. There was one such home on each block.

I began to look at the fronts of houses and found a Block Home sign.  I remember ignoring the man as his car continued to creep and he begged. Upon reaching the sign, I turned to walk up the steps. Suddenly the car took on speed and disappeared around the corner, negating the need for me to even ring the doorbell.

Chances are he knew where I lived and thought I was impertinent. That is one of a few times my stronger-willed attitude has saved my life. 

Until adulthood, I never told anyone what had occurred. It was one of many little secrets held in for years because in my view there wasn’t anyone safe to tell.

Safe:

  • A place to store valuables
  • Not in harm’s way physically
  • A sense of no fear
  • Comfortable

Until recently, these were the only definitions I knew. However, when it comes to having or being a support in times of  struggle, we may add:

  • A person who demonstrates trustworthiness in several key areas.

We all need safe people in our lives. Most us of want to be such a person for our loved ones. Discovering or maintaining this kind of safety begins with gaining knowledge and insight.

The Block Home parents presumably understood the lurking dangers of childhood. It’s likely there had been recent frightening crimes and the program was kicked into gear for that reason. They put out signs sending the message,  I am available. You can trust me. You are safe here.

Compassionate love is patient and kind, does not keep a record of wrongs, and rejoices in the truth. Any of us seeking emotional shelter will do well to look for these signals. We protect our own well-being by being choosy of whom we trust.

Wanting to be supportive means proactively becoming and remaining safe so that no one has to suffer alone behind a wall of secrets.

                                                  Today’s Helpful Word

1 Corinthians 13: 4-6

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

 

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

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pics from rgbstock.com

A Little Child (Easter Short Story)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

The following is one of the stories found in They Were Real: Short Story Gateways Into the Thoughts of Bible Characters (2014)  Inspired by Mark 10:13–16

A Little Child

when i am old...This has not happened before. Squeezing between the flapping coarse robes of oblivious adults, she slips around tiptoed feet and stretched legs to see a famous teacher. A mass of thousands hinders the whispering breeze from reaching her hot face. Voices mumble above her ears, she sees an ant trying to discover safety, and she wonders how much farther she will have to go.

A kind stranger’s soft hand lay flatly against her back giving her a slight push, and she emerges to face a haphazard circle of faces. Free to see, she looks about, glad for fresh air.

Ah, the front row.

In the middle resting on table rock, the man rumored to be a healer and maybe even the Messiah is laughing and not doing much of anything else. Children play at his feet circling in a race to see whose head he will pat next. To the little girl’s mind, they are lucky to receive such attention. She watches with more awe than jealousy, recognizing they are the winners of this world and that is just the way it is.

Parents observe from close by, but not hers. She is neglected, on her own, at age six. Picking at her ragged tunic, she tries briefly to scratch off imbedded mud. Glancing around once more, she sees a forest of babbling heads and tilted shoulders with necks reaching for a better view. People who are closer are solemn and quiet. Several men are intently studying the teacher as he interacts with his youngest visitors. A woman’s voice shouts, “Lord!” Someone in the crowd calls him Jesus.

Suddenly a hush rolls backward in waves as row after row, people realize the man is standing to speak.

“Come here,” he says with his head turned in the small girl’s general direction. She pivots, wondering who might go to him. No one does.

Turning back, she sees that this time, his hand and arm are extended as he signals for a response.

Curiosity overtakes her, and her head bobs left to right. Whom is he addressing? After a few more seconds, she looks at him in pity, intending to let him know she is sorry no one is answering his call. This time, doubt is impossible.

Why is he looking at her?

A familiar uneasiness slows her breaths, her heart cautiously longing to hope but refusing to believe. He simply cannot be interested in her. Warily, she searches for movement in the crowd one more time. Then with her chin down, eyes peering up timidly, she faces this powerful and important man. Slowly pointing to her chest, in a whisper she says, “Me?” Her brain tells her this is false, even as she sees him smile and hears him answer yes. More hesitation, and then she finds herself in front of him; anger, mockery, and rejection have failed to show up in his response.untitled

He sits back down and pats his knee.

The other children are playing a game in the dirt now, paying no attention to her. The teacher’s eyes never waver. He indicates again that he is offering his lap. Tensely, she climbs up.

Then the unthinkable happens.

He embraces her in a gentle bear hug. She has not known these sensations until now—a softhearted touch, tender strength, or being held as if she is precious. He is safe…so this is love.

For a brief instant, her young spirit senses his love’s vastness—that each person in this massive audience is his one and only, including her.

Jesus stands again, squeezing her tight, her head relaxed against his neck. “Let the little children come to me, for of such is the kingdom of God,” he says.

For the rest of his speech, she is unaware as the first peace in her short life allows her to fall asleep in his arms.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.