Life · Psychology

schadenfreude

~Humour is just Schadenfreude with a clear conscience~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Schadenfreude :

/ˈʃɑːd(ə)nˌfrɔɪdə,German ˈʃɑːdənˌfrɔydə/noun

What in the world is Schadenfreude? I have a thing for interesting terms that are linked to human psychology. Schadenfreude is a German term that recently found its way into the English dictionary. Its English equivalent is epicaricacy. Honestly, I have never heard of such a word :D..clearly, my vocab needs prayers 😀 I can’t even begin to imagine how to use it in a sentence! I feel good though when I hear of an incident, snap my mental fingers and say…ooh, I know! I know! That’s Schadenfreude! 😀

So anyway, as indicated earlier,Schadenfreude is a German word which means, and I quote, ” the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.” If we were to be honest, all of us at one time or the other, have been guilty of this. How many times has something bad happened to someone and we say, ” Aaah good! Serves him/ her right!” We are all human and when someone has done something annoying, we want revenge,no matter how tiny. Karma, they say, knows us by name and has our addresses inscribed on her palm. So we wait and literally hope our offenders get their comeuppance sooner rather than later…though the waiting is hard! For most of us, the only reason the people who wrong us are alive is because it is illegal to kill…enough said haha…

So you have dated this person for XYZ months or years. You feel this “IS THE ONE.” One day fro the blues, you get dumped. Bitterness and anger reigns and you pray all sorts of things happen to this person. One day, a year down the road, you hear he/she was dumped by someone they have been dating, or their house burnt down. You feel that feeling of pleasure from their misfortune,no matter how fleeting? That is schadenfreude. Its as simple as that.

So anyway, it is human to think or say, “serves ’em right!” after something happens to someone we think deserves it. It would be hypocritical for anyone to say they haven’t thought it once or twice…ha! maybe that toe you stubbed was someone wishing you would drop dead…I kid 😀 Don’t beat yourself up or think you are evil. You are only human, We seek comfort in strange things and nothing is changing any time soon. It is what it is.

P.S This has been in draft form for a while, until the other day some friends talked about it on Facebook and I remembered it. I envy people who write regularly. What do they smoke? Can someone tell me so I smoke it too? xoxo

~Tragedy is what happens to me, comedy is what happens to you~

Life · Love · Psychology

The Stockholm Syndrome

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot–it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
– Maya Angelou-

We all know about the Stockholm syndrome, right? Or maybe I am being too presumptuous? Anywho, the Stockholm syndrome is where the kidnapped person after some time begins to develop feelings of empathy and sympathy towards the kidnapper. Downright crazy, right? Maybe not. The human psyche is nothing short of amazing. The things human beings do! *rolls eyes*

So anyway, this phenomenon came to mind the other day when I was talking to a friend of mine. I have been recently going through a break up from a long term relationship and I was going crazy trying to come to terms with it. So we analysed the relationship and looking at the negatives, she suggested that every time I found myself crying over him, I should think -Stockholm Syndrome! I found this hilarious. At the same time I thought about how many times we are wronged, yet we keep sympathizing and empathising with our so called captor. I say captor because, aren’t you a captive? A captive of your own feelings? Your soul is sold. No matter what this person does to you, you still make excuses for them.

A long time ago, I was married to an abusive man. Physical,verbal and emotional abuse. I have never spoken out about it in depth for the trauma and horror of it all. It changes people’s perception of you as they know you. I digress…story for another day. The point is, I made excuses for this man for a long time. he made me believe I was nothing. It was always MY fault.  I stayed, why? Stockholm Syndrome. I would sympathise and believe that I actually made him mad. I made him hit me. I was young.  I didn’t realise that he was wholly in charge of his actions, until the day I realised I was a captive. I had developed the Stockholm Syndrome and it was about time I took charge of my life. The problem was, I had so long been used to being treated this way that I took it to my next relationships. I was a sum total of all I had ever experienced.

In this recent case, I allowed myself to be manipulated emotionally. I was making excuses for being treated badly..oh maybe he is going through issues, oh maybe..maybe…maybe… There will always be a reason why people do things, but it should be none of my concern to a point.  I have no business allowing someone to treat me like a second option. I am work in progress. We are always evolving, learning to become better versions of ourselves.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

So whenever you start identifying with your ‘captor’ and making excuses for lousy behaviour, STOP! Think Stockholm Syndrome and Run! Identifying only means you keep getting the short end of the stick. It is not easy to break habits that are set. You need to realise you are worthy. You deserve better.

“The past has no power over the present moment.”
– Eckhart Tolle

 

Life · Psychology

A Fool is Born Every Minute…

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. ~Albert Einstein~

Human beings are by their very nature, curious. The only difference being our level of curiosity, and our objects and subjects of curiosity. Astrology and the horoscopes have always held my curiosity as well as millions of  people throughout the ages, and through civilisations. The dailies,for as long as I can remember, always carried a section that had the day’s horoscope. I read them religiously and told myself I didn’t believe them,yet when things went a certain way, I’d find myself thinking ‘hmmmm…and my horoscope did predict this was bound to happen!

I could never tell what the difference was between astrology and the horoscope. Don’t fall asleep, seriously.This has relevance, I swear it does 🙂 Astrology centers on the belief that planetary positions directly impact our lives, depending on their positions during your birth.

Horoscopesimage courtesy of  http://norfathiahabdullah.blogspot.co.ke/2013/11/check-your-birthday-horoscope.html

The future can be foretold depending on the position of the Sun,Moon and the planets.However, astrology is considered a pseudoscience, or rather, a set of beliefs that have somehow over the years been somehow regarded as based on science, yet they have no scientific backing. The Horoscope stems from astrology and is basically a chart diagram that makes predictions using astrology. I won’t bore you with the details, I can hardly grasp them all 😀

scorpio-characteristics.pngimage courtesy https://www.abouthoroscope.com/scorpio-traits/

Now, why do people believe in Astrology and the Horoscope? Most often than not, the horoscopes are perceived to be true, but vague generalisations that are supposedly  derived just for you such that they sound very real and convincing. The funny thing is, we tend to believe these predictions. Don’t worry or  beat yourself  up about it. Its not your fault. You can heap the blame on the Barnum or the Forer effect.

The Bar-what-now? I hear you ask. The Barnum effect has puzzled psychologists for decades. The effect refers to when people believe in a derived set of predictions. The predictions are very close to each personality description. The descriptions are supposedly tailored for each person, yet when you look closely, are vague enough to be spread across many personality traits. The name originated from a sneaky fellow, a showman  and circus owner- P.T Barnum,who said that ‘A fool is born every minute.’ He convinced people that his circus had something for everyone,yet he had limited acts in his circus. The thing is, they all believed him and flocked there, making Barnum one very happy dude, and his pockets well lined!

Barnumimage courtesy of  http://www.popflock.com/learn?s=Barnum_effect

We love hearing good things about ourselves. Lately on social media,especially Facebook, there have been a rise in sites that make predictions about you based on your profile. A prediction will read something like “You are strongly independent , fiercely loyal and you are well liked by your friends.” The prediction reads like that for thousands of others, but we feel good about the predictions and fall for them hook,line and sinker-the Barnum effect at work.

Psychics, Tarot readers and Palmists are examples of the areas where the Barnum effect comes in.It is obvious through the evidence that the descriptions are vague, yet we still enjoy the attention and believe the predictions anyway. We don’t have many of these prediction readers in Kenya that the local mwananchi has access to. What we do have is some unscrupulous religious leaders who play on their congregations’ psychology.  We have all seen those. Enough said. Religion is a touchy subject, but you do catch the drift.

The human brain is an intrigue. It is very complex, yet very simplistic in nature. A twist here and there lends you very gullible. Now, there is one thing I am not sure whether to believe in or not. It probably is that sneaky fellow Barnum back from the dead to taunt me 🙂 The Zodiac signs. Their order is: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

Sagittariusimage courtesy of  https://gostica.com/spiritual-lifestyle/mars-gone-wild-sagittarius-try-breaking-limits/

 I am a Sagittarius. Half man,half beast, with bow and arrow pointed heavenwards..probably an indication of my aspirations to be divine? I kid. Then again, not. The personality traits given for each Zodiac sign are so on point, it must be true. The Barnum effect be damned! I know people whose personality traits are exactly what their Zodiac signs say they are. Coincidence? Fact? Barnum effect? Naaaaah! There has to be something. Go on, dig a little.Then dig some more. Let me know. Remember, the important thing is to keep questioning. Nothing is always as it seems. As some quarters say, open your third eye. Nature is full of mysteries. A fool is born every minute.If you are that fool, don’t die a fool.

Life

Imposters

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine …~Marianne Williamson~

W e have all felt inadequate at one point, some more often than others. The level of inadequacy, is of course relative. Sometimes we shortchange ourselves by limiting ourselves to the mundane,and by hugging our comfort zones a little too tight.

I know for a fact that I second guess myself a lot, and someone once told me I suffer from ‘The Imposter Syndrome.’ When I looked it up, I was amazed at how true it was. Wikipedia opines it is “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”

How do I relate? I keep thinking that maybe I am not good enough, maybe I am not the person they think I am..maybe..maybe… then I think to myself..”Get a grip woman!” 🙂  “Why should you be bothered?” A close friend -two-actually three (wow) told me  that I undervalue myself and my skills too much. It stems from a place of insecurity, borne of half a lifetime of self esteem bashing- (story for another day)

So anyway, a little more research told me there are five sub types of this syndrome. Indulge me then, as we take a look at each. Maybe you also suffer from the same and y’all are there giving me the ‘side eye’ for suffering from some syndrome with a ridiculous name!  😀

1.The perfectionist

You are that person who just has to have every little thing just right. You set very high standards for yourself and berate yourself when you don’t achieve them. You feel like oh,such a failure! Nothing you do is ever good enough, and no success is celebrated.You always feel like you could have done just a little bit better. You can easily turn into a control freak by always trying to micro-manage everything and everyone!You have major trust issues on matters delegation, always wanting to do everything yourself.

    2.Natural Genius

There are people who are naturally gifted. Everything comes easily. If you are this type of person, then you have never really struggled with anything.You were a straight A student. Always the sharp kid in class and probably in the family too. You feel deeply about things that you struggle with. There is a constant battle within yourself, convincing yourself that if a certain task is not easy to perform, then you must suck at everything else too. You feel like such a fraud and steer away from challenges in case you fail, and people discover you are a fake! Sound familiar?

3. Super Man/Woman

You are the type of person who already feels inadequate among your peers. You have this overwhelming need to prove something to yourself and everyone else. Yours truly is a workaholic, trying to hide your insecurities behind work or school. You keep to yourself a lot because you fear getting exposed for the ‘fraud’ you are, and constantly you constantly need to self validate by working harder and harder.. Your relationships suffer because you tend to subconsciously push people away so they don’t ‘expose’ you. I can see you squirming in your seat because YOU know it describes you to a T!

4.Expert? Me? Nooooo!!!

“Did I hear you say I am an expert?” You gasp inwardly when someone says you are good at something. If in employment, you tend to think you were hired by mistake and they will soon realise you are not what you are supposed to be.

You undervalue your knowledge and intelligence level. You greatly undervalue your worth. Do you feel like your life is a ticking time bomb, with only a matter of time before you are outed for being a liar and a fake? Is it hot in here, or it’s just me? Things are getting thick,huh? A little too close home? :-/

5. The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger walks alone.You gun sling alone.You deal with the good,the bad and the ugly single handedly 😉 Do you feel like asking for help might somehow expose you for the phony you think you are? Everybody needs help at some point. If you feel that you have to do things on your own to prove a point,then you have deeper issues than you know. Being independent is good and all, but you need to let others help. No man is an island. Stop shooting for a minute, will ya?

Boy! Don’t we have issues? Of course some think these are first world problems,no? ‘Odiero‘ problems? 😀 Wrong! These are human problems. I am at number 4 and I am learning to accept and see my self worth. I am learning to take compliments graciously with a simple thank you.

A close friend, who shall not be named :),told me that I fear greatness. I fear the person I can be if I set my mind to it. So, my greatest fear is, indeed, that I am not inadequate, but that I am powerful beyond anything I can fathom. I fear the light I can emit, because it will chase away the darkness I have become so accustomed to.

I shall not play small. I am, and can be everything I inwardly doubt I can be. I shall not shrink so others can shine. I shall not have a defeatist mentality. I shall inch away from my comfort zone and leap into the unknown. I am meant to shine. And so I shall. What about you? Its never too late to shine. Live a little, I know I will! YOLO.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Codes.

 

I can’t, for the life of me manage to find time to write these days.This particular post has been pending review for a while now, just like so many others that are half written,yet to be published.I envy those people who write on a daily basis,keep journals even.I used to keep journals once upon a time. I stumbled upon them the other day and I was surprised at the depth of my feelings at that point in time.I wrote so well,I was starting to wonder whether it was really me who made those entries!Of course some were in code and I could not remember what the codes meant. So the mystery of the codes remains unsolved, not that it matters. It mattered then, otherwise I wouldn’t have written it, but it passed and I forgot about it. It kinda gave me something to mull over.Life is a series of codes that we are constantly trying to decipher. In essence, just like my journal entry didn’t matter the other day, much of what we worry about today will not matter tomorrow.

Some time back, I had a falling out with someone.I thought at that time that I would never get over it. it hurt so much, felt like my heart was breaking into pieces..{I think this is the phrase that best describes that feeling of utter dejection, so you might see it a lot with me}.I digress 🙂 Anyway, I felt like I was falling apart. I didn’t understand why things had to be this way. I thought about it,cried over it, but I didn’t die. I realised that I was so busy hurting and trying to decipher a code that was not meant to be deciphered. The falling out had happened, hard as I tried, I would never understand why.It was what it was, and no matter how long or how hard I cried over it, it just wasn’t going to change anything.It kinda felt like I was crying over an algebra equation that could,and would not solve itself no matter the amount of tears I shed.

A week later, I started picking up the pieces of my wounded heart and pride. I patched them up best I knew how, dusted myself and moved on. Later on, I started joining the dots backwards and it wasn’t so bad after all.  See, that is the nature of life. We look at life through the prism of extremes, mostly negatives- hurt, failure, pain…rarely do we look at things for what they are, learning curves. We refuse or can’t see the grey areas, just a lot of blacks and whites. We refuse to colour outside the box.We forget that yin can’t exist without yang, and vice versa.

So what am I really saying beyond the rambling? That it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to try to decipher the codes, its only human.The only thing you need to know is that those codes should not stop you from living life. You only have one life to live and you certainly do not want to spend it in search of explanations on things that will not matter tomorrow, or in a few days. Ask yourself whether it will matter in the next one week, month, a year or even ten years. It is definitely easier said than done, but sometimes no matter how much it hurts and you are dying to understand the whys and wherefores, it is safer just to let things be. Sometimes what we think is sorrow, ends up not being what we expect,but a blessing in disguise.Our scars define us and give our souls character. My mantra is, and always will be, we are broken to be made whole.

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked, and the same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. How else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” ~Khalil Gibran~

 

 

Life · Love

Promises

“He started to estrange her..

and they became strangers

who knew each other’s heart,

so broken as they drifted apart.”

~Ana Claudia Antunes~

I talk a lot about love.Maybe it’s because I believe in love. I believe that loving someone is not something that you just wake up and decide to do.You grow that love over time, and as hard as it may be, you keep loving that person no matter what.

Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

This is one of my favourite quotes from The Velveteen Rabbit, a children’s book by Margery Williams.I read it a long, long time ago, but these words have never left me. In essence, love just is. You love someone for who they are, not for what they have, or what they can do for you.It is unfortunate in today’s world, love is a word that is bandied around a lot.It lost meaning a long time ago. Love is becoming real like the Skin Horse says.It takes a long time, and even when you are old and grey, love is still blind to any imperfections.Once you love someone, they can never be ugly, except to those on the outside looking in.

Lots of times we say we love someone, and we may mean it at the time.We are constantly changing, and those feelings may change with time. Unless two people make a conscious effort to keep up with these changes and make compromises as they go along, they may end up estranging each other. Two people who happen to know each other’s hearts so well, and yet are complete strangers. I have been a victim of this in the past.I changed, and someone was not willing to make compromises for me.We became estranged.Someone has changed in the recent past and I have not been willing to let go while it is what was required of me.It has been so hard to make that compromise, yet I have no option but to.I love this person deeply, so it is only fair that I let him go because it is what is right for him. We have become estranged, and I have been clinging on, which is not fair to me, or him. Promises were made, and broken.I need to forgive and move on.I need to find closure.

In these situations, the best thing is to love them still, but from a distance.Let them go.If things are meant to be, they will be. To me, he is real, he will never be unreal.For sure, when you are real, you don’t mind being hurt, and being real only happens to those who don’t break easily.I am real, more real than I ever have been, and I will not break, as much as I feel like I am coming apart at the seams.It wasn’t anything I did, yet I have tried everything to make things right. The only thing that I can do now, is to let go and let God.

Life · Love

The Fourth Floor

I turn  40 in exactly 8 months and 13 days!!! Forty!!How?Where did the years evaporate to?Just the other day I was 25.Now I am a turning 40 year old woman who is more than ever aware of her mortality and the dreaded monster called aging.Since time immemorial,man has been searching for the mythical and yet elusive fountain of youth.We all desire to stay young and being called young is a compliment.When we are young,we hate being called kids and when we age,we want to be called young…(rolls eyes)

“I am convinced that most people do not grow up..we marry and dare to have children and call that growing up.I think what we do mostly is growing old.We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves,the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.” Maya Angelou captured it perfectly in these few words.We just accumulate years and gain a little more knowledge every day.I have not grown up, I am still the little girl I was years ago, I have just gained some experience and known a few more things than I did then.Did I grow up? I may have, to please society- because it is expected of me, but it does not necessarily mean I enjoy it.What I am sure of, is I am as young as I feel.Growing older does not mean you lose sight of the excitement.It’s interesting what society expects of us when we reach a certain age.Why do I have to be all prim and proper because I am a Mom?Who gets to decide what is right or wrong? Who says I cannot wear ripped jeans because I am 40? Who died and made anyone judge and jury?

Life is fickle.You may be here today,gone tomorrow.Life is for the living. You ought to really live.Read all the books you can, walk in the rain,enjoy sunsets.Sit outside on a moonlit night and watch the stars.Fall in love.Play with your children, keep in touch with family.The best thing about growing older is the realisation that I live life on my terms. I have no tolerance for fake people.Two faced individuals with fake smiles and fake love.I keep it real.I have realised that how I love now and how I loved in my twenties is different.Experience teaches you a thing or two about character judgement.If today I had the same choices, but knowing what I know now, I would not choose some-actually, most of them.

I am looking forward to being 40.They say life begins then.I am not afraid to love.To give my all. I am not afraid to try out new things.To be bold. My bucket list is overflowing with things I would love to do before I die.I will strive to do as much as I can, but I will enjoy life in the process.Life is too short to be wasted on trivialities.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”~George Bernard Shaw~